Inside view of Distribution Center with close up of recycling bins

Our goal is to reduce the waste we create, on a comparable basis, and contribute to the drive for increasingly circular economies through increased re-use and recycling. Please read the stories below to learn more about our initiatives and progress in this area.

Waste generation and disposal data

Walgreens Boots Alliance’s waste generation increased 14 percent in fiscal 2017 compared with fiscal 2016, primarily due to a high number of renovations and remodels in our U.S. retail pharmacies. We are focused on improving waste reduction in our largest operation, our U.S. retail stores.
Of the waste generated by the Company in fiscal 2017, approximately 50 percent was recycled, a similar rate as in fiscal 2016. The Retail Pharmacy International Division achieved the highest recycling rate in fiscal 2017, 78 percent, followed by Pharmaceutical Wholesale’s 71 percent and Retail Pharmacy USA’s 47 percent.

Waste by method of disposal
(000 metric tonnes)
Fiscal 20171 Fiscal 2016 Year on year change (%)
Landfill 303 265 +14.3
Incinerated2 7 10 -30.0
Recycled3 316 274 +15.3
  626 549 +14.0
Waste by Division
(000 metric tonnes)
Fiscal 20171 Fiscal 2016 Year on year change (%)
Retail Pharmacy USA 547 467 +17.1
Retail Pharmacy International 59 62 -4.8
Pharmaceutical Wholesale 20 20 0.0
  626 549 +14.0

Beyond 34: breaking through recycling barriers in the U.S.

We are a core corporate sponsor of Beyond 34: Recycling and Recovery for A New Economy, which has selected Orlando, Florida, as the location to create a scalable model for improving recycling and recovery rates in order to help communities, cities and businesses achieve their circular economy and sustainability goals.

Beyond 34 aims to increase Orlando’s recycling rate and export the model to other communities. Numerous other companies, state and local business chambers, and officials support the initiative, which is led by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation Corporate Citizenship Center.

Zero waste to landfill project expands in U.S.

The Walgreens zero waste to landfill project advanced in fiscal 2017. The Moreno Valley, California distribution center, the pilot location for the project, averaged about 11 metric tonnes of waste to landfill per month during fiscal 2017, compared with about 22 metric tonnes a month in fiscal 2015, before the start of the pilot. Walgreens is working on expanding the program to all of its distribution centers by the end of calendar 2018.
Feeding America
In fiscal 2017, Walgreens diverted more than 1.6 metric tonnes (3.5 million pounds) of product from landfills across the U.S. by donating them to Feeding America, the largest domestic hunger-relief and food rescue organization. Donations of unsold or discontinued products, screened for safety, include food as well as toiletries and household items that often cannot be purchased through government assistance programs.

Waste innovation and recycling across the world

At its support center, Boots UK implemented an innovative process for the disposal of feminine hygiene products and diaper waste by turning it into fuel pellets for incinerators, rather than sending it to landfill. The new process is anticipated to extend to Boots stores during fiscal 2018. When the program is fully implemented, an estimated 140 metric tonnes of waste per year is expected to be diverted from landfill.
Farmacias Benavides in Mexico carried out an environmental risk assessment to determine how to increase recycling and reduce waste to landfill.
1 Fiscal 2017 data within Deloitte & Touche LLP’s review scope.
2 Without heat recovery.
3 Includes materials recovered via incineration with heat recovery.

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