By recycling and donating, Walmart’s operations in California prevented more than 80 percent of their waste from ending up in landfills, the retailer reported last week.
The company says it plans to roll out the same waste reduction program at its 4,400 stores, Sam’s Club locations and distribution centers across the U.S. If Walmart can replicate the 80-percent waste reduction at these other locations, the company estimates it would trim its carbon footprint by 11.8 metric tons of carbon dioxide emissions annually – the equivalent of removing two million cars from the road for a year.
Established in 2009, Walmart’s comprehensive waste reduction program includes recycling or reusing cardboard, paper, aluminum, plastic bags, wood pallets and apparel. Walmart has also set up a recycling program for Expanded Polystyrene Foam (EPS), a traditionally difficult-to-recycle material. The EPS blocks are recycled into picture frames, which are then sold at Walmart stores.
Expired food and organic products from Walmart’s California stores are turned into animal feed, compost or biofuel. Nationwide, Walmart gives leftover food to food banks, donating the equivalent of 197 million meals in 2010, the company said.
Walmart’s goal is to eventually reach zero waste – eliminating all waste from its operations.