Greenpeace Takes Aim at Target’s Plastic Use with Holiday Protest
Greenpeace activists dump hundreds of pieces of plastic in Target lobby to protest the retailer's reliance on single-use plastic. ( Photo by : Matt Mead/ Greenpeace).

Greenpeace Takes Aim at Target’s Plastic Use with Holiday Protest

A team of activists appeared at Target’s downtown Minneapolis to urge the retailer to eliminate its reliance on single-use plastics.

Environmental advocacy organization Greenpeace on Tuesday held a holiday-themed protest at Target’s flagship store in downtown Minneapolis. The group urged Target to move away from single-use plastics—including grocery bags and product packaging. 

“As one of the largest retailers nationwide, Target has the potential to transform the fight against single-use plastics,” Greenpeace USA plastics campaigner David Pinsky said in a news release. “If Target commits to [phasing] out single-use plastics, it will put pressure on retail giants like Walmart, Amazon, Kroger, and Costco, and consumer goods companies like Nestlé and Unilever to act as well.”

As some activists dressed as Santa emptied two six-foot-tall sacks of plastic waste into the lobby, others dressed as elves and held a sign urging Target to discontinue its use of single-use plastics. Greenpeace activists later distributed holiday cookies decorated with the words “Do More. Ditch Plastic” to Target employees.

In a statement, a Target spokesperson said that the retailer is working on a slew of environmental initiatives, including sustainable packaging goals. The company has begun using plastic bags made with 40 percent recycled content. In addition, Target has made a 25-year commitment to recycling plastic garment hangers, the spokesperson said.

“Target teams across the business are working to eliminate, reduce, and find alternatives for plastics in our products, packaging and operations,” the spokesperson said.

The protest came a month after Greenpeace filed a petition asking Target to move away from single-use plastic materials. The petition was signed by over 220,000 people.

“[We want] to show that we will not back down until the retailer makes a commitment to urgently reduce its reliance on single-use plastic and move toward reusable or package-free options,” said Pinsky.

Other organizations have called for Target to take action on its plastic waste output. Early this year, Minneapolis resident Theresa Carter founded Customers Who Care, an online network of people seeking to hold retailers accountable for plastic waste. Customers Who Care submitted its own petition to Target in January. By April, the petition had garnered more than 100,000 signatures.