A couple of plastics-related stories today have a Wal-Mart Stores Inc. connection. First, the retailer announced on Monday that its stores in Canada are phasing out plastic packaging from its energy-saving light bulbs. "The change will eliminate an estimated 150,000 pounds of PVC plastic waste each year, increase package recyclability and save natural resources," the company announced in its news release. It cited its "packaging scorecard" as a driver in the decision. Meanwhile, Wal-Mart, Toys "R" Us Inc. and Target Stores Inc. announced that they have instructed their toy suppliers to meet strict new standards on the amount of lead and other materials. The retailers' standards are stricter than what is called for by House and Senate bills, according to this Associated Press story. The story goes on to address some plastics-related materials: phthalates and bisphenol A.
Bentonville-based Wal-Mart told its suppliers to reduce the amount of phthalates, a chemical used to soften plastics. The updated Wal-Mart requirement matches rules in California, standards Toys "R" Us and Target say they will also meet. The California rules limit phthalates to 0.1 percent.That looks like the last word on the subject of phthalates and childrens' products. Others can continue the debate. But once Wal-Mart decides, suppliers will find a way to meet the standard.