Transitioning to be part of a circular economy

What is a circular economy model?

Today, most of the world works on a traditional ‘linear economy’ model as illustrated below. This means that raw materials and energy are used to make a product which is thrown away after use.

We want to change how we work so that where possible, we can keep materials in ‘circulation’ instead of in landfill. This means reducing the need for raw (natural) material inputs, preventing waste and reducing energy use by making products and materials more efficiently and reusing them.

Linear model

This is going to be a transformative journey over many years for Kmart and we recognise that we have much work to do. In the past financial year Kmart produced 203 million units of clothing.

Our success will rely on changing the way we work - from design to sourcing products; and working with others across our supply chain, government and industry to achieve a system change.

Key changes for us will include:

  • Designing our products with recycling, reuse or responsible disposal in mind
  • Increasing our use of recycled materials in products
  • • Working with suppliers to implement new systems for capturing and reusing post-production textile waste
  • Avoiding problematic materials that cannot be recycled
  • Implementing sustainable packaging across all products
  • Increasing customer access to product take-back for priority materials/products
  • Improving our engagement and education of customers to extend product life and increase recycling and responsible disposal at the end of product life.

Circular economy

Circular Design

In 2019, Target set a commitment to launch a training program on circular design principles for design, buying and sourcing team members by December 2021. The widespread impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on our business, required that we reprioritise and focus on other key areas of our sustainable development program such as our commitment to sourcing more sustainable and recycled materials, which plays an important role in creating more circular products. With approximately 10 per cent of our own brand apparel business comprised of t-shirts and tops made with a minimum 98% cotton, we know that a portion of our products are already designed to enable recyclability at end of life, however, we know there is more we can do to equip our teams with circular design strategies that reduce waste and promote versatility, durability and recyclability of garments. In 2022, we will develop a circular design framework and time-bound circular product commitment, from which we will develop ad pilot a tailored circular design training program with our team.

Circular Fashion Partnership

One example of how we will collaborate with others to achieve scalable and long-term circular systems, is Target’s involvement in the Circular Fashion Partnership - a cross-sectorial project led by Global Fashion Agenda, with partners Reverse Resources, the Bangladesh Garment Manufacturers and Exporters Association, and P4G. Through the collaboration of global fashion brands, textile and garment manufacturers, and recyclers, the partnership aims to build a successful and scalable business model for capturing and reusing textile waste. By directing post-production textile waste back into the production of new fashion products there is opportunity to scale recycling capacity within Bangladesh and generate economic benefits from these waste streams. As of January 2022, five of our factories are participating in the project and segregating textile waste.

Learn more about the Circular Fashion Partnership here.

*Bedding includes sheets, quilts, quilt covers, blankets, throws, pillows, pillow cases, cushions, and mattress protectors..

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