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Improved Waste Management and Resource Efficiencies

Last Updated: 2019.10.28
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Fast Retailing promotes the reuse and recycling of waste generated by our own business activities and across the supply chain. We also contribute to the creation of a circular economy by recycling and reusing clothing no longer needed by our customers.

Policies for Improving Waste Management and Resource Efficiencies

Waste is a valuable resource that can be reused when managed properly. Our goal is to reduce the amount of waste generated from our business activities, including the disposal of products that our customers no longer need. We promote reuse and appropriate management of waste in other ways, engaging proactively in resource recycling. In order to achieve a circular economy and maximize resource efficiency, we also work towards reducing resource usage and promote reuse and recycling. The most important way to improve the efficient use of resources is to make sure that our customers use the apparel they purchase from us for as long as possible. We are committed to using resources efficiently by providing our customers with high-quality long-lasting apparel.

Targets

Fast Retailing

・Resource recycling in stores and offices
We encourage resource recycling through the appropriate management of the waste generated by our stores and offices worldwide. We set a goal for 100 percent recycling of discarded corrugated cardboard (roadside shops only) at UNIQLO in Japan, a goal we achieved in 2017. We have been working with building owners to promote resource recycling at our shopping mall locations.

・More efficient use of resources in materials procurement
Fast Retailing is advancing ways to use materials with greater efficiency. We are doing this by incorporating recycled materials in the product planning process and in our sourcing of raw materials.

・More efficient use of resources in product planning
UNIQLO pursues timeless design and durability in LifeWear apparel. We plan, produce, and sell these products with the goal of having our customers wear them over a long period of time. In this way, UNIQLO helps uses resources more efficiently.

Supply Chain

Fast Retailing researches new technologies to control the amount of waste generated in production processes and to reuse textile waste. We also minimize the amount of waste generated by optimizing shipping methods and reusing packaging materials.

Customers

We collect clothing no longer needed by our customers, providing those items to refugees and displaced persons. We are developing means to use clothing collected but not suitable for reuse, ensuring materials are processed appropriately and converted to other resources such as solid waste fuel.

Policy to reduce the amount of single-use plastic

In July 2019, Fast Retailing adopted a group policy to eliminate the use of unnecessary plastic throughout its supply chain and, where plastic is necessary, switch to eco-friendly substitutes.

・Environmental considerations in product packaging and shopping bags
Fast Retailing aims to reduce the quantities of materials used in product packaging and shopping bags. We plan to reduce the amount of single-use plastic handed to customers at its Group stores worldwide, such as shopping bags and product packaging, by 85%, or around 7,800 tons annually, by the end of 2020.

Fast Retailing Initiatives

Stores

We set a goal for 100 percent recycling of discarded corrugated cardboard (independent roadside shops only) at UNIQLO in Japan. Working with outside recycling companies, we achieved 100 percent recycling in fiscal 2017.

When UNIQLO stores in Japan are closed or renovated, we reuse some of the store fixtures and equipment in new stores. We are expanding this approach to UNIQLO stores in China and South Korea.

More efficient use of resources in materials procurement

・Recycled down
UNIQLO stores have begun collecting UNIQLO's used down items from customers. Down will be extracted from down products and cleaned for use in new down merchandise. Collection started initially only in Japan, and some down products from the 2020 Fall/Winter season will use this recycled material.

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・Recycled polyester fibers
From 2020 Spring/Summer UNIQLO will begin to introduce DRY-EX items of clothing that incorporate high-value-added polyester fibers derived from reclaimed PET bottles.

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Shopping Bags

From September 1, 2019, stores in 12 markets worldwide including Japan, where plastic shopping bags are currently in use, have begun switching to eco-friendly paper bags made of FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper or recycled paper. Stores in markets where paper shopping bags are currently in use, including UNIQLO stores in Europe, as well as Group brands Theory, Comptoir des Cotonniers, Princesse tam.tam, and PLST, have begun switching to eco-friendly paper shopping bags from September 2019.

With the aim to reduce shopping bags, and to make effective use of resources including paper, all UNIQLO and GU stores in Japan and abroad, as well as Comptoir des Cotonniers and Princesse tam.tam stores worldwide, have begun selling branded eco-friendly reusable bags from September 2019. To promote the use of reusable bags, all UNIQLO and GU stores in Japan will begin charging for shopping bags from January 14, 2020. UNIQLO and GU in 16 markets across North America, Europe and Asia regions have also begun charging for shopping bags after September 2019.

Product Packaging

From 2019 Fall/Winter season, Fast Retailing has started eliminating the use of plastic in the packaging of certain items such as UNIQLO room shoes. We have also begun verification testing aimed at switching from plastic packaging for UNIQLO and GU products, such as HEATTECH, AIRism, and other innerwear to alternative materials, from summer 2019.

Supply Chain Initiatives

Logistics

A great deal of cardboard boxes and other waste is generated in the process of delivering materials and products. We are engaged in a variety of initiatives to reduce the amount of waste material generated by logistics.

Initiatives AreaDescription

Reduction in Cardboard Boxes

UNIQLO and GU
in Japan

Some UNIQLO and GU products shipped from factories to the countries where they are sold are repacked at the warehouse to fulfill store orders. In the past, we purchased new cardboard boxes for repacking. Now, however, our warehouses in Japan are reusing boxes used in the initial shipment, or have switched to collapsible boxes, greatly reducing the number of new boxes purchased. UNIQLO in Japan reduced annual purchases of new cardboard boxes for shipping by nearly 70 percent.

Reducing Paper Used in Warehouse Operations

UNIQLO Japan

In the past, UNIQLO Japan used paper shipping labels to facilitate the process of product picking (removing products from warehouse shelves) when shipping products from UNIQLO warehouses in Japan. Now, UNIQLO uses a computerized system that reduces the amount of paper used. Our e-commerce business has also reduced paper usage significantly by confirming orders electronically.

All-Product Recycling Initiative - Involving Customers

In 2006, Fast Retailing started accepting apparel no longer needed by our customers at UNIQLO and GU stores, encouraging the reuse and recycling of our products.We sort the clothing collected, donating products still wearable (about 80% ) to refugees, displaced persons, and others in need. The remaining clothes are put through shredding machines to remove any remaining metals. The material is then mixed with paper and plastic waste, compressed, and recycled as solid waste fuel (RPF*). RPF replaces coal and petroleum-based fuels for use in special boilers at paper mills.
*RPF: Recycled Paper and Plastic Fuel

Solid waste fuel (RPF)

Solid waste fuel (RPF*) made from reclaimed clothing

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Waste

Fast Retailing

Units: tons

Item Type of Waste 2018
(September 2017 to August 2018)
Stores (Partly estimated) Combustibles 6,279
Waste Plastics 6,217
Waste Cardboard Boxes 27,077
Total 39,573
Head Office 154
Scope of Data Collection
  • Head Offices: Yamaguchi Head Office, Roppongi Headquarters and Ariake Headquarters
  • Stores: UNIQLO and GU stores in Japan

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