Walmart, Bentonville, Ark., issued a new set of plastic waste reduction commitments by leveraging its massive private brand program. The new commitments are expected to impact over 30,000 SKUs, and enables Walmart executives to work with suppliers to expand efforts to improve the sustainability of its private brand product packaging, with an emphasis on increased recyclability.
Walmart will work with its U.S. private brand suppliers on the following commitments:
- Seek to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable packaging for its private brand packaging by 2025;
- Target at least 20% post-consumer recycled content in private brand packaging by 2025;
- Label 100% of food and consumable private brand packaging with the How2Recycle label by 2022;
- Work with suppliers to eliminate the non-recyclable packaging material PVC in general merchandise packaging by 2020; and
- Reduce private brand plastic packaging when possible, optimizing the use to meet the need.
Walmart’s aspiration is to achieve zero plastic waste by taking actions across its business and working with suppliers to use less plastic, recycle more and support innovations to improve plastic waste reduction systems.
Some of its current efforts to reach this goal include:
- Offering low-cost, high-quality alternatives for single-use plastic consumable products such as straws, cutlery and disposable tabletops;
- Recycling shrink wrap in most markets—151 million pounds of plastics were recycled globally in 2017;
- Providing access to in-store plastic bag and film recycling bins for customers; and
- Encouraging suppliers to include the How2Recycle label on pack—last year more than 800 Walmart private label suppliers participated.
The Walmart Foundation is also supporting a number of circular economy initiatives such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce Foundation’s Beyond 34 project, a multi-stakeholder initiative aimed at increasing the current 34% recycling rate in the United States by providing a scalable model to increase and improve recycling and recovery rates in local communities.
“As a global retailer that has set an ambitious aspirational goal to create zero waste, we fully recognize that reducing plastic waste by increasing packaging circularity is an area where Walmart can lead,” says Laura Phillips, senior vice president, global sustainability. “Today’s announcement marks another key milestone in our ongoing journey of working with our private brand and national brand suppliers to deliver access to high-quality, sustainable products as part of the Walmart everyday low price promise.”