Walmart reduces waste sent to landfills by 80% in California

Bentonville, Ark. -- A comprehensive waste reduction program has resulted in Walmart eliminating more than 80% of the waste that would go to landfills from its operations in California. Walmart’s results exceed both the national average landfill diversion rate of 45% and the California rate of 65%. The program is now being implemented across all of the company’s 4,400 U.S. locations, including Sam’s Club units and distribution centers.

Walmart estimates that extending the 80% diversion rate across the country will help it prevent more than 11.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions a year. It will also move the chain closer to its global goal of creating zero waste.

Walmart’s waste reduction program was developed with the help of such national companies as Oak Leaf, Quest Recycling, Greenstar, Waste Management, Georgia Pacific, International Paper and, and Feeding America. The program has three main components: recycling/re-use, food donations, and creating animal feed, energy or compost from expired food and other organic products.

As part of its recycling effort, Walmart recycles cardboard, paper, aluminum, plastic bags and roughly 30 other items through the super sandwich bale (SSB) program. Items not eligible for the SSB, including wood pallets, polystyrene plastic and apparel, are sent to Walmart’s return centers for reuse or recycling. The chain recently partnered with Worldwise to convert cardboard, plastic bottles, plastic hangers and plastic bags collected in its stores into new pet products, including dog beds, kitty litter scoops, pans and liners and scratching posts that sold on its shelves.

Walmart began implementing and consistently tracking its new and existing waste reduction efforts in California in 2009. A third-party review showed that the retailer uses an appropriate process to establish its waste reduction data. The nationwide program, based on the California model, will include an ongoing review to monitor the program's success.

Click here for a more close up look at Walmart’s waste reduction efforts in California.

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