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EPA Recognizes Kohl’s As Recycling Leader

Retailer receives Green Power Partner of the Year award for consistently high recycling and reuse rate.

Kohl’s Corporation, one of the nation’s largest retailers, has been singled out this year by the EPA for its sustainability efforts, and cited as the Green Power Partner of the Year.   The award recognizes businesses with a high rate of success in waste reduction and recycling, and who make environmental progress through their green power purchases, leadership, overall strategy and overall impact on the green power market.

This is the second time the Menomonee Falls, Wisconsin, clothing retailer has been recognized by the Green Power Leadership Awards, held in Portland, Oregon, each year.  The awards are a part of the annual Renewable Energy Markets Conference, and are co-sponsored by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), the U.S. Department of Energy and the Center for Resource Solutions.

Kohl’s posted recycling rates of 77% for 2010, up from 73% in 2007.  And while that number is less than Kohl’s stated goal of 83%, it’s still an impressive stat.  Even more impressive is the fact that of the 77% that was recycled, 79% was cardboard and paper.

The company has also made great strides in recycling other items––like carpet–– from post-remodeled stores.  Since 2007, Kohl’s has diverted more than 900,000 pounds of used carpet from landfills.  Last year alone the retail giant diverted 357,000 pounds of used carpet, while replacing it with new carpet that contains 20% recycled material.  A lofty achievement considering the company has remodeled some 26 stores over the last few years.  In 2008, Kohl’s introduced reusable shopping bags, while inviting shoppers to bring plastic bags to any Kohl’s stores to recycle.

But the company’s dedication to lowering its environmental impact didn’t stop there.  Kohl’s has lead the field in innovation in on-site solar power generation and the purchase of renewable energy credits.

In fact, Kohl’s has become the largest host of solar power in the U.S.  The company currently operates 100 solar locations in seven states, providing between 20 and 50% of the energy used by Kohl’s stores.  The company has also purchased renewable energy credits that support wind, solar, small-hydro, biogas and biomass generation projects nationwide.

Kohl’s intense focus on recycling, reuse and energy management is an important component of an overall sustainability initiative that will continue to produce measurable results well into the future.

About Sebrina Zerkus Smith

Professional writer, foodie. Lupus survivor. Loves pugs, wine, days at the beach and good movies. Takes recycling seriously, but not much else. Sebrina Zerkus Smith is a Southern Gal that has been scratching the writer’s itch for nearly 30 years. Her career began in Washington, D.C., in 1987, fresh out of collage and full of ideals. While plying her trade by day on congressional reps and senators, at night she burned the candle writing features for local newspapers and national magazines. She quickly realized that her southern upbringing gave her a unique and humorous voice that resonated with her readers. Eventually, she moved to Los Angeles where she pursued her dream of becoming a novelist and screenwriter. She paid her bills by working as a freelance writer for major marketing projects from studios such as CBS, NBC and Disney. Realizing that the future of writing lay with the internet, she was bitten by the blogging bug back in the 90’s, back before it was even called “blogging.” Then it was still just writing and trying to make a living. Through those early blogging years, Sebrina found passion and purpose. Over the past 10 years she has written articles for clients such as LightCues.com, MatterMore.com, Greenopolis, MacAddict, Yahoo, CNN and more. Today, Sebrina writes about a variety of topics including the Southern Experience, sustainability, clean water, food, gardening, sleep and her obsession with pugs. She is a regular paid contributor to WildOats.com as well as other entities. She now lives in Houston with her husband Jeff and their pug Newton. She hopes one day to complete her opus, Living Is Easy With Eyes Closed.


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