Walmart rolling out comprehensive waste-reduction program

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced it has eliminated more than 80% of the waste that would go to landfills from its operations in California by implementing a comprehensive waste-reduction program. The results far exceed the national average, where the Environmental Protection Agency estimated only 45% of waste is diverted from landfills. The California rate was 65%.

The program now is being rolled out across the chain’s 4,400 stores, Sam’s Club locations and distribution centers in the United States, moving the retailer closer to its global goal of creating zero waste. Achieving a similar 80% reduction in its landfill waste across the country would help Walmart prevent more than 11.8 million metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually.

“We are committed to buying, operating and selling for less, and our waste program is a great example of developing new ideas that help us save our customers money. Through this program, we are able to provide the raw materials needed to make new products, recycle millions of pounds of commodities and reduce the environmental impact of landfills,” said Bill Simon, president and CEO of Walmart U.S.

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

The program has three main components: organic waste solutions, food donations and recycling. The initiative utilizes hundreds of partners around the country, from local haulers to national companies, and is creating green jobs in the United States. National companies playing a leading role in helping Walmart develop this program include Quest Recycling, Feeding America, Georgia Pacific, International Paper and Greenstar, Oak Leaf, and Waste Management.