Canadian Tire

Circularity: Packaging, Product & Operational Waste

Our Commitment

As the Canadian retail market transitions from “take-make-dispose” to “reduce-reuse-recycle”, we are committed to being a leading retailer in the circular economy of the future.

Waste has become one of the most critical challenges facing the world today. According to the World Bank, over two billion tonnes of municipal solid waste is generated around the world each year.1 As our collective demand for resources grows, it is increasingly clear that our planet cannot support the resulting waste.

As an organization with over 1,700 retail stores and gas bars, we recognize that our actions have a sizable impact on the communities in which we operate, the ecosystems from which we derive resources and the places where our waste is managed.

We are committed to being part of the solution to reduce landfill waste and pollution in Canada and to drive economic opportunities for Canadian businesses to develop Canada’s circular economy. This is especially true with respect to our products and packaging, where we are focused on using renewable resources, minimizing the use of virgin non-renewable materials and creating circular and lower-impact products and packaging.

We Are Here to Make Life in Canada Better by actively working towards the reduction of the environmental impacts of our products, packaging and operations.

Our Approach


Increasing the sustainability of our product assortment

As one of the largest retailers in Canada, we recognize that most of our impact on the planet comes from the products and services that we provide to Canadians. For the products that we design (which we refer to as our “owned brand products”), the choices we make regarding how they are composed, manufactured, packaged and transported to stores have corresponding environmental impacts.

Products impact the environment in multiple ways. Underpinning our work to increase the sustainability of our product assortment is an understanding of the impacts our products have on the environment over the course of their life cycle.

Product Lifecycle

We know that products are not entirely sustainable until they are circular, meaning that they have been designed in a way that eliminates waste, uses fewer materials and makes reuse, repair and recycling easier.

At CTC, we are starting our journey towards creating fully circular products by first capturing sustainability-related information from the wide assortment of products that we offer. This data capturing process includes tracking information such as which products use lower-impact materials or were manufactured in a less resource-intensive way. We plan to leverage this data to set specific goals related to the sustainability of our product assortment and track our progress towards a circular product assortment.

While we are only at the beginning of a long journey, work is already underway across our banners.

Canadian Tire Corporation employee sorting through waste in recycling facility

Focusing on our owned brands

We select and design products focused on customers’ expectations for durability, performance and value. However, we know that we can do more by thoughtfully selecting and designing products that will have a reduced impact on the environment through their use and end-of-life management. Within our various product categories, we seek different solutions, and within our owned brand products, we have accelerated our circular design capabilities.

Our Owned Brand teams are on a journey to expand our assortment of products that include recycled materials and safer chemical alternatives, and that follow design principles that enable reuse and recycling. To drive access to more recycled materials and to better support the Canadian circular economy, we actively work with partners to recover more materials that can be recycled into new products for us to sell in our stores or use in our operations.


Increasing the sustainability of our packaging

By working towards shared environmental goals with our peers, suppliers and other partners, we are discovering best practices and helping to set high national and international standards regarding plastics, packaging and circularity. In 2022, we continued to collaborate with our partners in the Canada Plastics Pact (CPP) to advance the CPP’s joint 2025 targets.

What is the Canada Plastics Pact?

We are proud to be a founding member of the CPP. This growing partnership of over 80 businesses is committed to keeping plastics in the economy and out of the environment. The CPP is designed to foster aligned innovation and investment by all participants in the plastics value chain, including businesses, governments and non-governmental organizations. Together, the partners are rethinking how we design, use and reuse plastics, charting a clear, actionable path towards a circular economy for plastic by 2025.

The CPP is part of the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Plastics Pact Network, which connects us with international plastics pacts to share learnings and advance collective efforts. Learn more at the CPP website, along with the progress reported in their 2021 Annual Report.

We are collaborating with our partners to drive progress against the CPP’s 2025 targets. At CTC, we are advancing this work by:

  • Defining a list of our owned brand plastic packaging that is designated as problematic/unnecessary and taking measures to eliminate those materials by 2025
  • Designing 100% of our owned brand plastic packaging to be reusable, recyclable, or compostable by 2025
  • Ensuring an average of 30% recycled content in our owned brand plastic packaging by 2025

We are working with our vendors to better understand the materials used in our owned brand packaging, and to identify the plastic materials that are difficult to recycle and necessary to eliminate. This data will allow us to measure our progress against these targets and further advance our circular strategies.

Increasing recycled content in packaging

In collaboration with our owned brand vendors, we have reduced the amount of plastic packaging by adopting more recyclable materials and accelerating the elimination of PVC, multi-laminated plastic packaging, expanded polystyrene and polyvinyl chloride from many of our products’ packaging. Additionally, we are working to distribute used plastics to companies who can reuse them, including packaging manufacturers who can develop and produce packaging made from recycled content.

Designing more sustainable packaging

We are also making significant progress by delivering vendor training on the Consumer Goods Forum’s Golden Design Rules in partnership with the Packaging Association of Canada and incorporating improved packaging requirements in our product specifications.

The Canada Plastics Pact and the 9 Golden Design Rules

The Golden Design Rules were developed by the Consumer Goods Forum, a consortium of international consumer goods manufacturing companies who combined represent more than 10% of the global plastics packaging market. The Canada Plastic Pact (CPP) is supportive of the 9 Golden Design Rules. As a founding partner of CPP, CTC continuously works to introduce new sustainable product packaging standards in support of the below 9 Golden Design Rules.

Supporting plastic packaging recycling in Canada

By reducing our product packaging and making it more recyclable, we are making it easier for our customers to recycle, while improving inputs into the recycling value chain. These efforts contribute to the larger role we play with our products’ end-of-life collection and recycling in many of the extended producer responsibility (EPR) programs across the country.

CTC plays an active leadership role in influencing EPR programs across the country by participating in federal and provincial government consultations and volunteering on the Industry Funded Organizations’ board of directors. For EPR to be successful in creating a circular economy, government, companies and consumers must work together to build effective infrastructure and behaviours to keep materials out of landfills.

CTC is a producer in over 80 provincial EPR programs. We also volunteer in governance organizations for the stewardship of paper and packaging, tires, electrical appliances, power tools, paint, used oil and automotive materials to drive increased recovery rates, improved accessibility for customers and greater operational efficiencies. We continue to collaborate with partners to deliver new innovative solutions to address plastic and waste issues in Canada.


Reducing our operational waste

When it comes to managing our operational waste reduction strategy, the diverse nature of our business poses some challenges. Our enterprise-wide operations include retail stores in Canada, the United States and Europe, an e-commerce platform, gas bars, a consumer bank and more. With stores, corporate offices and distribution centres around the world, and with products ranging from tires to lawn chairs to apparel, we must continually think innovatively when developing sustainable waste management solutions.

We calculate our diversion rate by taking the waste diverted away from landfills, either by the process of recycling, composting or re-using, as a percentage relative to the total waste generated. Our ability to divert waste also depends on our level of control around waste collection. In some instances, we do not have control over how waste at a certain location is managed. For example, some of our stores are in malls or plazas where waste collection is managed by the landlord, and our 500+ Canadian Tire stores are individually operated by independent Dealers, who each manage their own waste collection either directly or with their landlord. As such, these locations are currently not included in our corporate operational waste activities as discussed below. However, we actively collaborate and share learnings to ensure as much waste is diverted from landfills as possible, and we aspire to work together on a collective waste goal in the future.

In 2017, we developed a target to divert 90% of our operational waste from landfill annually by 2022. We are proud of the significant progress made at our distribution centres, but we experienced some challenges at our retail stores and gas bars. In 2022, we achieved an 89% diversion rate at our distribution centres and a combined 76% diversion rate at our retail stores and gas bars, which include SportChek, Atmosphere, Mark’s, PartSource, Pro Hockey Life and our Canadian Tire Gas+ gas bars. At the retail level, our challenges related primarily to unanticipated market and supply chain shifts that occurred during the COVID-19 pandemic; difficulty in finding solutions for hard-to-recycle waste streams, such as certain types of plastic; and our ongoing learning regarding how best to support and motivate our customers to properly sort their waste.

Since setting our 2017 target, we have made significant progress and remain committed to developing and implementing innovative and sustainable waste solutions in our operations. Given the diversity of our business operations, our various banners and functions move at different paces for waste reduction. This is especially true when considering our gas bars, where balancing convenience for our consumers and encouraging proper sorting of waste remains a significant challenge. As such, moving forward, we will set waste diversion goals at a banner or function level. By 2025, we endeavour to:3

  • Achieve a 90% waste diversion rate at our distribution centres
  • Achieve a 90% waste diversion rate at our SportChek, Atmosphere, Mark’s, PartSource and Pro Hockey Life retail stores
  • Achieve a 60% waste diversion rate at our Canadian Tire Gas+ gas bars

1 The World Bank, “Trends in Solid Waste Management,” 2023.

2 While we endeavour to track and measure all of our operational waste, the scope of our operational waste footprint does not include waste from Dealer- and franchisee-operated stores, our international operations, and 36% of our corporately-operated stores (including Helly Hansen), primarily due to lack of control over those waste management programs. It also does not include any waste managed directly by CT REIT.

3 The following targets cover only those locations where we have control over the waste management programs. Please refer to the previous footnote for more detail on what our operational waste program encompasses.

Unless otherwise indicated, information in this ESG Report is provided for the 2022 fiscal year. For further information on our approach to ESG reporting, including our Glossary, which sets out definitions of capitalized terms and acronyms that are not otherwise defined on this page, and our forward-looking information disclaimer, please click here.