Walgreens is keeping an eye on a container recycling program that performed well at its Boots banner in the United Kingdom.
After a 50-store test that began in 2020, Boots last year rolled out the Recycle at Boots program to an additional 650 stores, allowing customers to return hard-to-recycle HBC items, such as toothpaste tubes and mascara containers. Customers are rewarded with 250 Boots Advantage Card Points for every five containers returned.
During the trial period, consumers dropped off more than 500,000 used HBC containers, the company said. “The reaction from our customers has been overwhelmingly positive,” said Lucy Reynolds, director of communications and CSR at Boots UK, in a post on the company’s website.
Boots sends the used containers to its recycling partner, MYGroup, which sorts them, shreds them and forms them into plastic boards, which are then used to create new items, such as chairs and reusable storage containers, some of which are now being used at Boots warehouses.
Lauren Stone, director of corporate social responsibility at Walgreens, said the pharmacy retail chain’s U.S. division is watching the results from its sister banner carefully, although she said it’s not yet clear if a similar program could work in the United States.
“We’re definitely taking learnings from the work they’re doing over at Boots,” she said. “It’s something we would love to do if we can operationalize it here in the U.S.”