Circularity and Waste

Image of recyclable Gap Inc. polymailer bag

Creating truly sustainable fashion means addressing the full life cycle of our garments, from raw materials to end-of-life—and back again. In addition to investing in circularity, we have a strategy to reduce, recycle and eliminate packaging waste.



By 2025/2030

Eliminate unnecessary or problematic plastics in packaging to consumers by 2025 and in packaging to businesses by 2030, in line with our Fashion Pact commitments*


49% of Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic shopper bags (which represent the main source of our identified unnecessary or 

problematic plastics) have been transitioned to paper. 100% of Athleta’s bags are reusable and were not included in this calculation. We continue to expand our measurement of plastic packaging. 

By 2025/2030

Ensure at least half of all plastic packaging is 100% recycled content, for packaging to consumers by 2025, and in packaging to businesses by 2030, in line with our Fashion Pact commitments 


50% of the content in our polymailers sent to consumers is from recycled sources and 100% of the content in our polybags used in logistics is from recycled sources. We are continuing to expand our measurement of plastic packaging used for consumers and businesses

*Unnecessary and problematic is defined according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation as: (1) Not reusable, not recyclable or not compostable is considered problematic, (2) Contains hazardous chemicals that pose risk to human/env health, (3) Can be avoided while maintaining utility, (4) Hinders or disrupts recyclability or compostability of other items, (5) High likelihood of being littered 

Our Approach to Circularity

Our work on circularity is organized into four pillars:

  1. Design for Circularity: We give our product design teams the tools to make choices that can positively impact product longevity, reusability and recyclability (read about we source more sustainable raw materials).

    Our brands are leading the way through partnerships with organizations like the Ellen MacArthur Foundation’s Jeans Redesign project, through which Gap and Banana Republic have launched new lines that integrate principles of circularity.
  2. Materials and Manufacturing: We are increasing our use of safe, renewable and recycled materials, and supporting innovation in circular manufacturing.

    Together with the Hong Kong Research Institute of Textiles and Apparel Limited (HKRITA), we are working with Artistic Milliners, one of our key suppliers, to develop an environmentally safe method of separating spandex from used garments. HKRITA is also working with Arvind Limited, another key supplier, to create a new method of denim decolorization that reduces reliance on harmful chemicals. Through a partnership with The Microfibres Consortium, we are contributing fiber samples to researchers from the University of Leeds (UK) to improve understanding of techniques that reduce shedding in garment production.
  3. Advanced Resource Recovery: We are supporting systems for collecting, sorting and recycling worn textiles into new materials for the fashion industry. 

    As a member of Accelerating Circularity’s steering committee, we support projects that research, map, model supply chains and jumpstart circular solutions for apparel, such as textile-to-textile recycling, anticipating the transition to advanced chemical recycling techniques. Through this partnership, Banana Republic and Old Navy have been testing ways to recycle fiber from the textile waste stream into new products. 
  4. Circular Business Models: We are working to decouple profits from the use of natural resources, resulting in new value propositions for the customer.

    Through our partnerships with thredUP, Give Back Box and How2Recycle, we engage customers in reselling used or gently worn clothes, donating clothes to charity and recycling plastic e-commerce mailers from online orders. We also communicate with our customers about our product sustainability and circularity efforts through store displays, product descriptions, product labeling and social media. We engage employees and customers through educational campaigns for Earth Day and World Water Day.

    Our brands have created innovative business models that support circularity such as Banana Republic’s Style Passport program and partnership with the online marketplace, Thrilling, to sell vintage Banana Republic clothing.

Our Approach to Packaging Waste and Plastics

We have a responsibility to help prevent and properly care for global waste—particularly unnecessary and problematic plastics—which impacts the environment and adds unnecessary costs to our business.

We prioritize addressing plastic waste in the critical areas that account for 70 percent of our single-use plastic inventory: hangers, polybags, shopping bags and e-commerce mailers. Our cross-functional task force is working to find solutions for these high-impact categories, and we also invest in innovative packaging design, product labeling and recycling programs.

We continue to test solutions that take into account the fact that only a handful of U.S. municipalities can recycle soft plastics. These solutions include better communication with store employees about recycling opportunities at their location, creating in-store marketing materials and working with vendors to reduce the size of polybags shipped to stores.

We increased the recycled content of our e-commerce mailers from 35 to 50 percent and are using life cycle assessments to understand the impacts and performance of alternatives. In addition, we are collaborating through a cross-brand working group organized by The Fashion Pact to research and develop paper-based alternatives to polybags.

Old Navy has spearheaded several waste initiatives, which include expanding its hanger recycling program to about 65 percent of its stores, removing all apparel hang tags and replacing virgin plastic with recycled yarns and label tape. In addition, Old Navy has a goal to eliminate plastic shoppers in U.S. and Canada stores by 2023.

Sustainability Impacts and Opportunities Across the Product Life Cycle

We perform life cycle assessments (LCAs) to understand environmental impacts across product life cycles—from design, to sourcing, to manufacturing, all the way to a customer’s closet. We use these to evaluate indicators such as product carbon emissions, chemicals, and water usage so that we can engage our supply chain, internal teams, and customers to help reduce the environmental impacts of our products at all stages.

Raw Materials

  • Water, energy, land use, pollution
  • Labor/working conditions
  • Fiber security
  • Fiber traceability


  • Clean water and water efficiency
  • Hazardous chemicals/preferred chemicals
  • Energy efficiency/renewables

Cut and Sew

  • Labor/working conditions
  • Material and sample waste


  • Waste, energy
  • Unnecessary and problematic plastics

Customer Use

  • Garment care
  • Repair/re-commerce


  • Textile waste
  • Circular economy
  • Garment collection/recycling