Reduce, Reuse, Recycle
At Wal-Mart, we focus on the three "R's" when we think about our waste — reduce, reuse and recycle. By keeping these three words in mind, we continue to develop new initiatives that strengthen our business as well as our ability to deliver on our mission.
When our waste reduction goals were set in 2005, we quickly realized that our previous waste management system was insufficient to accurately measure and manage our waste stream. Dumpsters were being hauled from our stores without measuring how much waste was in them. During the past three years, we worked side-by-side with our waste vendors to develop a more sophisticated waste hauling system that allows us to measure and manage our waste stream. At the same time, we began robust recycling efforts and increased the amount of waste being recycled and decreased the amount going to the landfill. We do not, however, know the actual percentage of the amount of waste we redirected or reduced in 2005, 2006 or 2007.
Now that we are able to accurately measure waste to the landfill, we are proud to report that from February 2008 until January 2009, we redirected more than 57 percent of the waste generated by our stores and Sam's Club facilities, exceeding the national recycling rate. This success was achieved through a number of initiatives, including better managing our inventories, increased charitable donations and implementing many new and innovative recycling programs.
In 2007, we started a zero waste pilot in the Fort Smith, Arkansas, market. Through this pilot, we are gaining a better understanding of the waste generated by our stores and opportunities for reducing and redirecting that waste.