DC Teams Set High Standard for Waste Prevention, Recycling, and Transportation

Tractor Supply’s recycling efforts are some of the most successful within our Stewardship Program. The waste prevention and recycling programs in our Distribution Centers (DCs) are an important part of our company-wide efforts to reduce waste.

At the seven DCs, a streamlined system is in place to efficiently collect recyclable items, including cardboard and plastic shrink wrap, which constitute the largest amount of waste. Cardboard is collected via automated conveyors and sent to a baler. In areas where automation is not appropriate to support the process, the DCs have team members who separate cardboard, wood, metal and plastic wrap for designated recycling streams. The plastic wrap is also baled and recycled.

While the recycling process is efficient and effective, the DC team regularly works to reduce packaging waste and prevent the need for recycling on the front end by collaborating with our supplier base. As a result, they have created reusable packaging, consolidated multiple items into store-ready displays, and changed how products are stacked on pallets to reduce the amount of plastic shrink wrap needed to maintain safe and stable loads.

As a result of these initiatives, 2017 was a strong year for packaging and waste prevention in the DCs, with nearly 17 million pounds of cardboard and plastic recycled.

Our DC teams live and work in the communities where we have Distribution Centers, and as a result, they regularly demonstrate their commitment to Stewardship in a number of ways.

“There’s a tremendous amount of pride in being good stewards of the communities and Tractor Supply’s resources,” explained Colin Yankee, Senior Vice President of Distribution and Logistics. “DC team members are hyper-conscious of efficiency and waste – wasted movement, wasted effort, wasted time, and wasted materials. These behaviors translate into our sustainability efforts.”

While the recycling program is a primary way in which the DCs execute Stewardship, sustainability goes far beyond the program to include facility design, collaboration with vendors to improve the systems and materials needed to move our products, and working with our transportation partners to improve the efficiency of our transportation network. In 2017, Tractor Supply again participated in the SmartWay Transport program. SmartWay Transport is a public-private initiative between the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, large and small trucking companies, rail carriers, logistics companies, commercial manufacturers, retailers, and other federal and state agencies. Its purpose is to improve fuel efficiency and the environmental performance (reduction of both greenhouse gas emissions and air pollution) of supply chains. All of the carriers we contract with are SmartWay carriers and are scored according to their emphasis on reducing their footprint.  In 2017, all of our carriers ranked 1 or 2 on a scale of 5 (1 being the best).

Transportation is an important part of Tractor Supply’s business operations, so we’re always looking to improve the efficiency of our transportation network, particularly as the company continues to grow. Being more efficient is important, not only from a financial standpoint, but also from an environmental one.  We look forward to continuing to see impressive results from our DC Stewardship initiatives, thanks in large part to the commitment of our hardworking teams across the country.