NOVEMBER 2008

Wal-Mart Stores aim to reduce plastic bag waste
Effort could eliminate plastic waste equivalent to 9 billion plastic bags

Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. committed to reduce its global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33 percent per store by 2013. This is expected to eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste globally. To help reach this goal, Wal-Mart will reduce the number of bags given out by its stores, encourage the use of reusable bags and give customers the ability to continue recycling plastic shopping bags.

Wal-Mart’s comprehensive bag reduction strategy is being developed in partnership with Environmental Defense Fund (EDF). It is estimated that roughly 60 to 80 percent of all marine debris is plastic. Reducing plastic shopping bag waste could also help reduce government expenditures. For example, the state of California spends approximately $25 million per year to discard plastic bags into landfills.

As part of the goal to reduce plastic bag waste, Wal-Mart stores in Mexico and the United States are introducing new, more affordable reusable bags. In early September, Wal-Mart de Mexico introduced reusable bags at one-third the cost of its current bags. In the United States, Wal-Mart began offering reusable bags in October for $.50 each.

Wal-Mart’s commitment to reduce plastic bag waste globally by 33 percent includes a 25 percent reduction from United States stores and a 50 percent reduction from international operations.