Last week Target, the nations fifth largest retailer announced a comprehensive plan to reduce and eliminate PVC plastic from its products and packaging.
The announcement will have a major impact on Target's packaging operations where PVC is commonly used in clamshell type packaging.
Five Steps Target is Taking to Reduce PVC Plastic
• Reducing PVC in infant products and children’s toys: All children’s eating utensils and lunchboxes are now PVC-free. All baby bibs will be PVC-free by January 2008. The company is phasing out phthalates in most of their toys by Fall 2008. They are also eliminating phthalates in baby changing tables by January 2008.
• Significantly reducing PVC in shower curtains: They are significantly reducing their sale of PVC shower curtains by offering more shower curtains out of cloth and ethylene vinyl acetate (EVA), a safer PVC-free plastic. They expect to be 88% PVC free by Spring 2008.
• Reducing PVC in placemats, table linens, and coolers: Target will be 96% PVC-free in their placemat and table linen categories by Spring 2008. All Target soft-sided coolers are now PVC-free.
• Reducing PVC in packaging: Target is reducing PVC packaging in the company’s Target brand dinnerware, travel accessories, toys and sporting goods. For food packaging, Target has a requirement in place to avoid the use of PVC when possible. In the media category (clamshells/blisters in electronics), Target is replacing the PVC clamshell with a modified paperboard/plastic packaging. For instance, iPod carrying cases sold at Target are being packaged in PVC-free packaging. The company is also asking their vendors to reduce the amount of packaging on their products and use materials that are easily recyclable.
• Educating purchasers about PVC hazards: The company has developed a “sustainable products guide” that’s being “developed to educate internal product designers, sourcing specialist and merchants about sustainable products, and to help them identify suppliers who are committed to the principles of sustainable design. This guide addresses general principles of sustainable design and specific environmental considerations associated with forest and paper products and PVC plastics. It will be expanded in the future to address other product-specific issues.”
Visit the Center for Health, Environment and Justice's pvcfree.org web site for more information on their work in reducing PVC usage.