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Staples beats 2025 recycling targets for batteries, writing tools

Office supply retailer on track to meet Canadian goals for electronics, ink and toner recycling

Staples CanadaStaples Canada says it has beat its targets for recycling writing instruments and batteries by one year, helping to process eight million pens and pencils and over 840,000 kilograms of batteries in four years.

"We're continuously investing in our sustainability initiatives to offer simple and effective solutions to help Canadians make environmentally conscious decisions, and we know our programs are making a difference," Rachel Huckle, CEO of Staples Canada, said in a release.

The aims, set in the Richmond Hill, Ont.-based company’s 2025 Goals for a Greener Future published in 2020, are the first two targets out of four to be met. The goals were to help recycle eight million writing tools and 750,000 kilograms of batteries and cell phones by 2025.

Its remaining targets are to collect 13,500 tonnes of electronics and 8.5 million units of ink and toner for recycling. According to Staples Canada’s 2023 Corporate Social Responsibility Report, the company is on track to meet both targets.

How Staples Canada recycles

To facilitate its recycling, Staples Canada partners with recyclers like TerraCycle and Call2Recycle.

For writing instruments, Staples Canada takes in customers’ used pens and pencils and sends them to TerraCycle, a Trenton, N.J.-headquartered recycling company. TerraCycle specializes in processing items and materials that are often not eligible for traditional recycling programs. Staples Canada and TerraCycle have partnered since 2012, according to the corporate social responsibility report.

Rechargeable and alkaline batteries are recycled by Call2Recycle Canada, a battery recycling organization. The partnership has existed since 2004, and diverted over one million kilograms of batteries from landfills, according to Staples Canada.

To recycle electronics, Staples Canada works with eCycle Solutions. The partnership has resulted in over 20.5 million kilograms of electronic waste collected to date, Staples Canada says.

The office supply company also recycles millions of ink and toner cartridges per year with various partners to make objects like office trays and pen and paper holders.

Other Staples Canada sustainability initiatives

Beside recycling programs, Staples Canada is addressing its energy use in its buildings and transportation.

By 2025, Staples Canada aims to have all of its buildings feature interior and exterior LED lighting. The company also took steps to electrify its vehicle fleet by purchasing electric trucks in 2022.

Additional targets for 2025 include reducing its natural gas and electricity use by 10 per cent from its current baseline.

Renewable energy company Bullfrog Power is partnering with Staples Canada to power all print orders made through Staples Print Services with clean electricity, and provide the power for all Staples Studio co-working spaces and the Staples Canada website.

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