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Costco Sustainability Review - How it applies to your packaging.

Updated: Aug 9, 2021

Get on board. Costco is continuing to take sustainability seriously and your packaging can be a major contributor of Costco hitting their goals.

In this segment, The Costco Packaging guys will review the increased attention to sustainability by Costco and why understanding Costco's packaging strategies will help the success of your products.

As noted in the open letter to Shareholders in Costco's 2020 Annual report, Costco CEO Craig Jelinek stated:

We continue to address sustainability in our supply chains. We support good land stewardship practices that include: avoiding deforestation and conversion of natural ecosystems; sourcing products from responsibly managed and certified forests; and focusing on preserving native grasslands. Through these efforts and others, we seek to protect valuable natural resources and reduce our environmental impact. Our Sustainability Commitment was updated in December 2020 to outline our progress this year and includes our new Climate Action Plan and Forest Conservation Commitment.

Let us review Costco's packaging strategies and how you can design your packaging to ensure you are in compliance.

1) Reduce the amount of packaging overall

Report snip: In 2020, we (Costco) further reduced plastic by over 2.6 million pounds, in addition to converting over 6 million pounds of single-use food service packaging to compostable items.

CPG: We (designers/brand owners) play a tremendous role in this initiative; and its not just plastic use. Designing packaging specifically for the Costco market is the secret here. Think about smart pallet layouts early in the process is critical. Every inch matters. Nothing is worse than driving a poorly sized product into a perfect Feature Pallet cube.

2) Increase the recycled content and certified fiber in all packaging

Report snip: Whenever possible, fiber used for paper-based packaging should come from known sources, should be procured from well-managed forests and should not contribute to deforestation. We want our fiber-based packaging sourced from responsibly managed and certified forests and/or use recycled content and alternative fibers

CPG: If possible, we should be sourcing paper from FSC and SFI sources.

Here is a great article talking about both these programs:

3) Increase the recyclability and compostability of all packaging

Report snip: Designing recyclable packaging is critical to creating a supply of recycled materials. We also want to provide an opportunity for our members to recycle by providing them with responsible choices in our packaging solutions. Recycling promotes a circular process where materials can be used more than once before reaching the end of life

CPG: As expected 2021 will bring a huge push towards the How2Recycle logos. We have a post detailing that program. Check it out!

4) Educate and learn from employees, suppliers and members the importance of sustainable packaging and recycling

Report snip: Costco continues to look for ways to improve the design of its packaging to reduce the amount, improve the efficiency, and improve operational efficiencies in order to reduce the packaging footprint and reduce costs.

CPG: They really touts how they sell goods directly out of the boxes they are shipped in, then reused those same recyclable boxes at the register by offering them to members in lieu of shopping bags. We at CPG talk about this all the time. Our packaging is Shipping Vehicle and Store Shelf...I need to start including Shopping Bag!

As always, reach out to us for any questions, comments or feedback. We would love to hear from you.

Until next time.



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