MAY 2011

Walmart reduces amount of landfilled waste in California

Walmart reported that it has eliminated more than 80 percent of the waste that would go to landfills from its operations in California. The company’s comprehensive waste reduction program that produced these results is now being implemented across Walmart’s 4,400 stores, Sam’s Club locations and distribution centers in the United States, moving it closer to its global goal of creating zero waste.

Achieving a similar 80 percent reduction in its landfill waste across the country would help Walmart prevent more than 11.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually. This is equal to taking more than 2 million cars off the road for a year.

Beginning in 2009, Walmart created a nationwide infrastructure of landfill alternatives that could open new opportunities for municipalities and other businesses to reduce the amount of solid waste they send to landfills. The Walmart zero waste program has three main components:

•Recycling 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.

•Donating healthy, nutritious food to food banks around the country. In 2010, Walmart donated 256 million pounds of food to hunger relief organizations – the equivalent of 197 million meals.

•Creating animal feed, energy or compost from expired food and other organic products following the EPA’s food waste hierarchy.

Walmart began implementing and consistently tracking its new and existing waste reduction efforts in California in 2009. A third-party review has shown Walmart 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.