Recycling plastic is an essential step towards reducing waste and preserving the environment. Target, one of the largest retail chains in the United States, has implemented a comprehensive recycling program to help customers recycle their plastic items. This article will explore how Target’s recycling program works, the types of plastic that can be recycled, and the various recycling initiatives the company offers.

Target’s Recycling Program

As Target Forward progresses toward waste elimination innovation, the company is committed to addressing its entire value chain. This involves collaborating upstream with suppliers and enhancing its internal waste reduction efforts.

Target Forward adopts several strategies to maximize waste diversion from landfills. The company optimizes waste reduction techniques at the material level, rigorously assessing their effectiveness, and then establishes standardized practices for implementation across the broader Target enterprise.

Teams within the organization collaborate to enhance packaging designs, reduce the number of components used, minimize overall waste generation, and prioritize the reuse, donation, or recycling of materials. By 2030, Target aims to achieve the ambitious goal of sending zero waste to landfills within its U.S. operations. 

How does Target’s recycling program work?

In 2022, Target made substantial strides in its commitment to sustainability, achieving impressive waste diversion rates. Specifically, the company diverted 83% of operational and 59% of construction waste from landfills.

One remarkable milestone during this sustainability journey was the official recognition received by Target’s Hawaii Flow Center. In 2022, this facility earned the esteemed designation of “zero waste” certified location by TRUE Certification (Zero Waste). This recognition marks a significant accomplishment for Target and underscores its dedication to responsible waste management practices.

The concept of “zero waste,” as the Zero Waste International Alliance endorsed, encompasses responsible production, consumption, and the systematic reuse and recovery of products, packaging, and materials. Importantly, this is achieved without incineration and with zero discharges to land, water, or air that could pose environmental or human health risks.

To meet the stringent criteria of being considered “zero waste,” a minimum diversion rate of 90% is typically required—an exacting standard that Target diligently upholds in its sustainability efforts. 

Target’s recycling program is an initiative to encourage customers to recycle their plastic items. The program provides designated recycling bins where customers can dispose of their recyclable plastic materials. These bins are conveniently located throughout Target stores, making it easy for customers to participate in the recycling effort. By recycling plastic, customers are not only reducing waste but also helping to conserve valuable resources.

To participate in Target’s recycling program, customers must locate the recycling bins within the store. These bins are clearly labeled and can be found in easily accessible areas. Once customers have gathered their recyclable plastic items, they can place them in the recycling bins.

Target’s recycling program accepts a wide range of plastic materials, making it convenient for customers to recycle various types of plastic. By properly disposing of their plastic items in the designated bins, customers actively contribute to the recycling effort.

What items can you recycle at Target?

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Since 2010, the company has provided front-of-store recycling kiosks, offering guests a convenient method to recycle various items, including cans, glass, plastic bottles, plastic bags, MP3 players, ink cartridges, and cell phones directly within their local stores. 

The primary objective of this program is to expand the company’s recycling initiatives, and to date, it has successfully diverted thousands of tons of recyclable materials away from landfills. 

Where can you find the recycling bins at Target?

To locate the recycling bins at Target, customers can look for signs or ask store employees for assistance. The recycling bins are strategically placed throughout the store to ensure convenience and accessibility. 

Target is committed to making recycling as easy as possible for customers. By providing visible and easily accessible recycling bins, Target encourages more people to participate in their recycling program.

Can you recycle plastic bags at Target?

Absolutely! Target’s recycling program accepts plastic bags for recycling. Plastic bags are particularly harmful to the environment and can take hundreds of years to decompose. By recycling plastic bags at Target, you prevent them from ending up in landfills or harming wildlife.

Can you recycle plastic car seats at Target?

Yes, Target’s recycling program also accepts plastic car seats. This is especially beneficial as plastic car seats are often made from materials that are not easily recyclable through regular means. By recycling plastic car seats at Target, you ensure that these items are correctly disposed of and given a second life through recycling.

What types of plastic can be recycled at Target?

Target’s recycling program accepts various types of plastic, including PETE (#1), HDPE (#2), PVC (#3), LDPE (#4), PP (#5), and PS (#6). These plastic types are commonly used in everyday items such as bottles, containers, and packaging materials. It is important to note that not all kinds of plastic can be recycled, so it’s essential to check the recycling guidelines provided by Target to ensure proper disposal.

Target as Part of the National Recycling Program

Target has been a part of the national recycling program for several years. However, reports have suggested that Target may be dropped from the program starting in 2022. If this were to happen, it could have significant implications for Target’s recycling initiatives and its commitment to sustainability.

Has Target been dropped from the national recycling program?

Currently, Target has not been officially dropped from the national recycling program. However, discussions and concerns have been raised about Target’s continued participation in the program. These discussions highlight the need for Target to review and reassess its recycling initiatives to ensure a sustainable future.

What are the implications of Target being dropped from the program?

If Target were to be dropped from the national recycling program, it would mean that the company would need to find alternative ways to manage its recycling efforts. This could involve implementing independent recycling programs or partnering with other organizations to continue promoting recycling within its stores. 

The implications of Target’s potential withdrawal from the program underscore the importance of sustainable waste management and the need for corporations to take responsibility for their environmental impact.

Does Target have any alternative recycling initiatives?

Target understands the importance of recycling and sustainability. In addition to participating in the national recycling program, Target has implemented several alternative recycling initiatives. For example, Target has a car seat recycling program that allows customers to recycle their old car seats. 

Additionally, Target offers occasional trade-in programs for specific items, where customers can exchange their old products for store credit. These initiatives promote recycling and incentivize customers to choose more environmentally-friendly options.

Are there any trade-in programs for specific items?

Target occasionally offers trade-in programs for specific items. These programs allow customers to return their old products, such as electronics or baby gear, and receive store credit. By offering these trade-in programs, Target encourages customers to recycle their old items while incentivizing them to make new purchases.

Does Target offer any free recycling services?

Yes, Target provides free recycling services for particular items. For instance, Target offers a free recycling program where customers can bring their old car seats and drop them off at designated recycling bins. This service promotes recycling and helps customers dispose of their old car seats in an environmentally responsible way without incurring additional costs.

How to Recycle Specific items at Target

Recycling specific items at Target is a straightforward process. Here are some guidelines to help you recycle everyday items:

How do I recycle plastic hangers at Target?

To recycle plastic hangers at Target, you can look for the recycling bins specifically designated for hangers. These bins are usually located near the clothing or housewares section of the store. Place your plastic hangers in the designated container, and Target will ensure they are properly recycled.

Can you recycle ink cartridges at Target?

Yes, ink cartridges are recyclable at Target. Target has partnered with various ink cartridge recycling programs to offer customers a convenient way to dispose of their used ink cartridges. Customers can drop off their empty ink cartridges at designated recycling bins in the electronics department or the customer service desk.

Are there any specific guidelines for recycling at Target?

While recycling at Target is relatively straightforward, following a few guidelines to ensure proper disposal is essential. First, make sure to separate your recyclable items from non-recyclable waste. Look for the recycling bins labelled with the appropriate recycling symbol to ensure your items are correctly sorted. 

Avoid placing items not accepted by Target’s recycling program in the recycling bins, as this can contaminate the recycling process. Finally, be mindful of Target’s recycling policies and guidelines, which may vary from store to store.


In conclusion, the Target Recycling Program offers a valuable solution for individuals and families looking to recycle plastic, including plastic bags and infant car seats. While the program’s specific offerings may vary, it significantly promotes sustainable practices and reduces plastic waste.

Target’s commitment to environmental responsibility aligns with the growing global awareness of the importance of recycling and reducing our ecological footprint. As we seek ways to protect our planet, initiatives like Target’s recycling program remind us that small actions can significantly positively impact our environment. Participating in such programs contributes to a more sustainable future, one plastic item at a time. 

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