Cutting plastic bag waste globally
Plastic shopping bags continue to represent a tremendous opportunity as we work to reduce waste being sent to landfills. Since 2008, we have been working to reduce the weight of plastic bag waste across our global operations by an average of 33 percent per store. In 2011, we cut bag waste by 42.5 million pounds, or approximately 3.1 billion bags. This represents a 35 percent reduction per store from our 2007 baseline.
Walmart Brazil has been a leader on plastic bags since the beginning, taking its commitment even further: to reduce plastic bag waste by at least 50 percent by 2013. Through various initiatives — ranging from the sale of 2.5 million reusable bags in just two years to packing-focused training for associates — Walmart Brazil successfully reduced plastic bag waste in its stores by approximately 48 percent in 2011 (2007 Baseline).
Its most impactful initiative to date has been an incentive program that provides customer discounts for not using plastic bags. Since its launch in 2008, the initiative has awarded more than $1.1 million in customer rebates. Today, that rebate program is in place across northeast Brazil, and is expanding in the south and southeast. Walmart Brazil remains an active partner with the Ministry of Environment and other influential organizations to raise customer awareness of this important environmental issue.
New recycled plastic bag
In 2011, we launched a new recycled plastic shopping bag for our customers that uses less virgin material with improved durability. The bag, made of 75 percent recycled plastic, has the potential to keep 1,500 tons of plastic from landfills annually.
In 2011, Walmart Mexico offered a sustainable, foldable trolley for purchase by its customers. By the end of the year, we sold approximately 130,000 trolleys, each of which eliminates the need for five plastic bags per store visit. In addition, we sold nearly 3.5 million reusable green bags, which will replace an estimated 540 million traditional plastic shopping bags.
Through a variety of initiatives, including the continued success of its Ecologic Checkouts — lanes that do not stock plastic shopping bags — Walmart Argentina reduced its plastic bag waste by 69 percent compared to the 2007 baseline.
In 2011, Walmart China partnered with the National Development and Reform Committee (NDRC) and the Ministry of Commerce (MOFCOM) to promote the third anniversary of the National Plastic Bag Restriction Policy in Beijing. As the only corporate sponsor, we launched a Walmart Green Restrictions on Plastic Bags in Communities campaign in 12 cities. As part of this campaign, 64 stores and four clubs participated in No Plastic Shopping Bags initiatives on each Wednesday in June, which reduced plastic bag use by 360,000 bags. To date, these and other programs helped us reduce plastic bag waste in our stores by 86 percent in 2011 (2007 Baseline).