Since launching our packaging scorecard in 2008 to rate suppliers on the sustainability of their packaging, we have seen our suppliers making noticeable changes to their product packaging. More customers are taking home products packaged in more sustainable materials, that have been transported using less fuel, or that have been created using less energy and fewer natural resources. We are very proud of our suppliers’ efforts thus far. To date, more than 329,000 items we carry at Walmart and 11,000 items that we track at Sam’s Club have been entered into our packaging scorecard.
In order to accelerate our progress toward reducing packaging in our supply chain by 5 percent by 2013 (2008 Baseline), this year we expanded the use of our packaging scorecard to Canada and Mexico. To help integrate the scorecard into those markets, we established a Packaging Sustainable Value Network (SVN) in each country. Mirroring our U.S. Packaging Network, these SVNs include membership from the government, academia, suppliers and NGOs. By January 2010, suppliers in Canada and Mexico had been informed on the scorecard and are in the process of adding their product packaging information into the system. We expect by the end of 2011 that buyers in Canada and Mexico will be able to use the information to influence their purchasing decisions.
U.S. – In 2009, our U.S. Packaging and Waste Networks partnered with Pratt Industries, a leading paper and packaging company, to make our private label deli pizza boxes out of recycled cardboard – some of which comes directly from the back of our stores and clubs. Overall, the recycling effort has saved us money and increased our use of recycled cardboard. By using recycled cardboard for these pizza boxes, we have redirected 8,600 tons of cardboard from landfills and saved 125,000 trees.
U.K. – ASDA has made considerable progress in reducing the packaging of its private label products. In 2009, we achieved a 26 percent packaging reduction on select private brand products compared to 2005. Key products that had changes in packaging include laundry detergent, from which 55 percent of the packaging was removed, and baked beans, which were changed from a can to a Tetra Pak – similar to a paper carton – saving 68 percent of packaging.
Japan – Seiyu has changed its private label packaging on fresh-cut fruits and salads from PET plastic to corn-based PLA packaging. As a result, the total weight of the package was reduced by more than 25 percent and the cost of the package was reduced by approximately 13 percent, saving us 18 million yen (more than USD $195,000) every year.
Brazil – In 2008, Walmart Brazil created a project called End-to-End, which analyzes the life cycle of products and works with suppliers to develop more sustainable products. In 2009, this project resulted in 10 new or redesigned products that reduced packaging materials or utilized recycled materials for the packaging.
U.S. – In 2009, we started using the U.S. EPA Food Waste Hierarchy to guide our efforts for identifying solutions for excess food at our stores and clubs. Today, the majority of the excess food is donated to the Feeding America program. Feeding America manages incoming food and delivers it to food banks in every state throughout the U.S., making it a great partner for Walmart. In 2009, we donated more than 127 million pounds of food to the program, which was distributed to families in need across the nation.
In addition to our food donation efforts, we continued to improve our recycling and waste redirection efforts. From February 2009 through January 2010, we redirected more than 64 percent of the waste generated by our stores and Sam’s Club facilities. In 2009 alone, we recycled more than 1.3 million pounds of aluminum, 120 million pounds of plastics, 11.6 million pounds of mixed paper and 4.6 billion pounds of cardboard. Throughout 2010, we will continue to test and measure alternative uses for the commodities we generate.
We have also worked to make our paper practices more sustainable. We are in the process of reducing the number of store reports that are automatically printed. On an annual basis, we expect that this will eliminate the printing of 350 million pages and create savings of $20 million.
Puerto Rico – In Puerto Rico, we have been able to achieve a 77 percent recycling rate at all of our facilities. We have also established an organic waste redirection project in seven Amigo stores and have a recycling program for customers and the local communities we serve. Overall, our efforts have prevented 38 million pounds of materials from being sent to landfills.
Japan – Seiyu has taken several measures to reduce waste and promote recycling. All Seiyu stores are sorting store-generated waste into 12 categories, 10 of which are recyclable (some stores sort waste into fewer categories due to the limits of the local infrastructure). As a result of the effort, in 2009, we were able to recycle more than 82 percent of our store waste in Japan.
Argentina – Together with Coca-Cola, Walmart Argentina launched a campaign to recycle PET bottles. Customers were invited to bring their plastic bottles to recycling stations at several Walmart stores throughout the country. The bottles were then sent to companies which recycled the bottles into playground equipment that was donated to schools.
Brazil – In 2007, Walmart Brazil established a program with Coca-Cola and has installed 308 recycling stations in its stores for customers to deposit their plastic bottles.
Chile – D&S Walmart in Chile improved recycling centers in many of its stores in 2009 to enable customers to recycle paper, cardboard, glass, plastic bottles, Tetra Pak, cell phones and plastic bags. One store even added recycling for batteries, CDs, DVDs and ink cartridges.
Central America – In 2009, Walmart Central America increased the amount of plastic and cardboard it recycled by 10 percent. In doing this, we saved more than 248,000 trees and prevented the use of 19,300 barrels of oil.
Canada – In 2008, Walmart Canada surpassed its goal to reduce waste produced by its stores across the country by 65 percent. Since then, we have been finding ways to reduce our waste even further. At our high-efficiency (HE) store in Waterdown, opened in September 2009, we have been able to reduce waste by more than 80 percent. The techniques used at this facility, once refined, will be replicated at other stores.
Around the world, our stores continued to improve on our company-wide goal to reduce plastic bag waste by 33 percent (January 1, 2007 – December 31, 2007 Baseline). Campaigns were started to reduce customer plastic bag waste, increase plastic bag recycling and introduce more reusable bag options to stores all as a part of this effort. In 2009, we reduced our plastic bag waste by approximately 66.5 million pounds, which is approximately 4.8 billion bags. This represents a 16.1 percent reduction from our baseline.
U.S. – In January 2010, we began a test program by only offering reusable bags at three California stores. Instead of plastic bags, customers can choose to bring their own reusable bag or purchase a reusable bag for 15 cents or a larger reusable bag for 50 cents. We have expanded the number of stores in California that feature the 15 cent bag and are monitoring customer reactions.
Brazil – In 2009, Walmart Brazil reduced its plastic bag waste by approximately 10 percent, the equivalent of 138 million plastic bags or 1.1 million pounds of plastic. We were able to accomplish this by selling more than 2 million reusable bags, using cardboard boxes at checkout stands instead of plastic bags and giving customers who choose not to use plastic bags to carry their purchases home a discount on their final bill.
Japan – Seiyu has been working to reduce plastic bag waste through customer and associate engagement and improved operations. Since 2007, we have been able to reduce our plastic bag waste by more than 10 percent. Additionally, more than 50 percent of customers are using reusable bags for their shopping.
Chile – In 2009, one of our D&S stores in Chile launched a pilot program to determine the feasibility of using a closed-loop system to recycle customers’ used plastic shopping bags collected in bins at the store into new plastic shopping bags. The pilot program successfully developed new bags containing 70 percent postconsumer recycled plastic. This is the first time a program of this type has been tried in Chile, and the program was so successful that plans are in place to roll it out to all D&S stores in 2010.
China – In 2008, the Chinese government launched efforts to curb the use of disposable plastic shopping bags. We supported this effort by offering customers a free reusable bag for a limited time. As of the end of 2009, we have been able to reduce our plastic bag waste in China by more than 69 percent.