Plastics get a couple of mentions in Wal-Mart Canada's new corporate sustainability report, which was released today. The references come in the report's "environment" section. Here are the relevant snippets:
Wal-Mart Canada is aggressively pursuing its long-term sustainability goals: to be supplied by 100 per cent renewable energy; to produce zero waste; and to sell merchandise that sustains resources and the environment. The company made several notable strides in 2007 including the expansion of its waste diversion program to include additional types of plastics. As a result of Wal-Mart Canada's multi-stream recycling program, the company was able to divert more than 100,000,000 kilograms of waste from landfill. Given that 92 per cent of the company's waste is the result of product packaging, Wal-Mart Canada established new criteria to assess suppliers and supply chain partners on the basis of their environmental efforts, impact and improvement. In addition, suppliers were invited to participate in two sustainable packaging expos, in conjunction with the Packaging Association of Canada, where they were educated on new sustainable packaging materials, technologies, designs and alternatives. Wal-Mart Canada is on the verge of rolling out its new packaging scorecard, a roadmap designed to help suppliers reduce their individual packaging.I wanted more information about the "additional types of plastics" that are being recycled, as mentioned in the news release. So I checked out the relevant section of the full report. Here's what it has to say:
Over the years, our in-store recycling efforts have grown in scope and complexity. Initially our stores recycled just cardboard. In 2006 we added plastic film to the mix. In 2007 we evolved to include virtually every type of plastic waste generated in our stores, from hangers to pill bottles. The materials are compacted together to create “sandwich bales” (a layer of plastic between two layers of cardboard), eventually sold at a profit for Wal-Mart for re-use by others.Finally, here's what the report has to say about plastics (and other materials) in connection to the company's packaging scorecard:
Packaging reduction offers huge environmental and business benefits. Globally we're targeting a five per cent reduction in packaging for merchandise sold in our stores by 2013. We will need to work closely with our suppliers to reach this goal. n 2007 Wal-Mart Canada held two sustainable packaging expositions, in partnership with the Packaging Association of Canada and 120 exhibitors, to help educate many of our suppliers and other businesses on new sustainable packaging materials, technologies, designs and alternatives. On the strength of the first exposition, the second exposition was the largest attended one-day packaging event in Canada's history. In 2008 Wal-Mart Canada will introduce a packaging scorecard to measure suppliers and their products on these criteria: package reduction and elimination; use of materials that are biodegradable or have residual value; commitments to reduce emissions or use renewable energy in the creation of packaging and support for programs that encourage recycling.Wal-Mart Stores Inc. obviously can move a lot of mountains in the packaging and recycling sectors. And with a goal of eventually cutting waste to zero, the company still has some heavy lifting to do. A lot of plastics packaging companies around the world are watching every Wal-Mart move very carefully.