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Walmart Sets The Standard For Retail Store Recycling

March 23rd, 2011 · 2 Comments

Walmart is one of the biggest retailers in the U.S. today. Recently Walmart sets the standard for retail store recycling.

Walmart is one of the biggest retailers in the U.S. today. Any move, therefore, that the giant retail chain makes will always have a tremendous impact on the environment and the thousands of communities that its stores serve.

That is why the recent announcement of Walmart that it has achieved an 80% recycling rate in all of its California locations is very encouraging. The company has successfully diverted waste from the state’s landfills by recycling items like plastic, cardboard, aluminum, and polystyrene. They’ve also worked with various companies to reduce packaging which constitute a large part of store waste materials. Finally, the company diverted tons of excess food from landfills by donating these to food banks and nonprofits providing 197 million meals.

The success of the California initiative has prompted the store to roll out the program in all of its 4,400 locations nationwide. According to Leon Kaye of Triple Pundit , if Walmart can duplicate its success in California in all of its retail outlets throughout the U.S., that would be equivalent to preventing 12 million metric tons of carbon emissions or ‘taking 2 million cars off of American roads.’

California has a target of 75% diversion by 2020 as outlined in AB 341. The business sector, however, has continued to lag behind residential areas in recycling. The success of the Walmart recycling program will hopefully encourage other businesses to take a look at this model and implement their own initiatives.

Aside from the apparent environmental benefits, Walmart’s decision to go full steam ahead with recycling is also decidedly a savvy business decision. At a time of recession and economic difficulties, companies like Walmart will have a greater chance to stay afloat by eliminating waste and cutting costs. With oil prices continuing to rise because of the turmoil in the Middle East, the cost of hauling waste to landfills are expected to also increase over time. Cash-strapped municipalities and counties will also be exploring all their income-generating options and increasing landfill fees will certainly be part of their agenda. Walmart makes a strong case for fiscal responsibility by massively reducing these cost areas of their business – saving the company millions of dollars every year – money that otherwise would have gone to waste (pun intended).

Walmart admittedly has a patchy record when it comes to employee wages, benefits, and working conditions. In this instance, however, they deserve a round of applause for responsible environmental policies and astute business decision-making. One more proof that being environmentally responsible and still making money are not mutually exclusive propositions.

Tags: Recycling

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Plastic Scrap Guy // Apr 17, 2011 at 9:51 pm

    I personally think that being environmentally friendly is a way of making more money for large retailers. That is, recyclables collected through various recycling programs end up getting sold for profit. It’s just more publicly advertised now since it’s the responsible and “in” thing to do.

  • 2 Lena // May 9, 2011 at 1:19 pm

    At last, seomnoe comes up with the “right” answer!