Wal-Mart sets goal to reduce its global plastic shopping bag waste by one-third



    Wal-Mart Canada has already achieved 15% reduction this year

    MISSISSAUGA, ON, Sept. 25 /CNW/ - Wal-Mart Canada Corp. today joined all
Wal-Mart operations worldwide in a global commitment to reduce plastic
shopping bag waste by an average of 33 per cent per store by 2013. Wal-Mart
Canada has set its own goal of a 50-per cent reduction, having already reduced
plastic shopping bag waste by 15 per cent this year. The company has a
long-term goal to be a zero-waste operation.
    Wal-Mart Canada will reduce plastic bag waste through existing and future
strategies, including exploring new technologies, encouraging cashiers and
customers to take a restrained approach to bag use, promoting the use of
reusable bags, and recycling used plastic bags.
    "Globally and locally we have chosen not to ignore the environmental
impact of plastic-bag waste," said Jim Thompson, Wal-Mart Canada's senior vice
president of operations. "Wal-Mart's commitment to eliminating waste and the
challenges it represents are bold. But, in partnership with our
77,000 associates and the one million Canadians who walk through our doors
each day, the opportunity for an immense environmental win is literally right
in our hands."
    Wal-Mart's global commitment to reduce plastic shopping bag waste by
33 per cent by 2013 and a related partnership with Environmental Defense Fund
(EDF) was announced today at the Clinton Global Initiative, a forum convened
by former U.S. president Bill Clinton to drive global sustainable change.
    Globally, this goal is expected to eliminate the equivalent of 9 billion
plastic bags worth of waste, and could have far-reaching environmental and
economic benefits. It could reduce energy consumption by approximately
678,000 barrels of oil per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 290,000 metric
tons per year - equivalent to taking more than 53,000 passenger vehicles off
the road annually.
    "By pledging to cut its bag waste by one-third by 2013, Wal-Mart is
taking a clear step forward in reducing global waste," said Gwen Ruta, vice
president for corporate partnerships at Environmental Defense Fund. "Plastic
bags clog our landfills, litter our roadways, harm sea turtles and other
wildlife, and gobble energy in production. With this initiative, Wal-Mart is
demonstrating that innovation leads to both business and environmental
benefits - a premise that underpins EDF's work. I look to retailers everywhere
to do the same."
    Across the globe, Wal-Mart operations have the flexibility to meet this
goal through a three-pronged strategy of reduce, reuse and recycle. Options
for meeting the goal include, but are not limited to the following:

    
    -   Reduce: Decrease the amount of plastic contained in bags and ensure
        they are loaded properly, reducing the number of plastic bags needed
        per trip to the store. Much of Wal-Mart Canada's plastic-waste
        reductions to-date are related to its recent decision to reduce the
        size and gauge of its plastic bags, resulting in an expected
        reduction of two million pounds of plastic resin this year.

    -   Reuse: Increase reusable bag use among Wal-Mart customers by making
        them accessible and affordable and educating customers on the
        benefits of reusable bags. Since late 2007, Wal-Mart Canada has
        introduced re-usable shopping bags made of recyclable materials. True
        to Wal-Mart's focus on saving Canadians money so they can live
        better, each 97-cent re-usable bag has the equivalent capacity of
        three plastic bags, believed to be the most cost-efficient option of
        its kind in the Canadian marketplace.

    -   Recycle: Increase the amount of plastic bags being recycled, and
        close the loop on recycled plastic. Through in-store recycling
        depots, Wal-Mart Canada invites customers to return and recycle used
        plastic bags from any retailer.

    About Wal-Mart Canada: Headquartered in Mississauga, Ontario, Wal-Mart
Canada operates a growing chain of 309 locations, including discount stores,
Wal-Mart Supercentres, and Sam's Club membership warehouse operations.

    The company has committed to three long-term sustainability goals:

    1.  To produce zero waste;
    2.  To be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy; and,
    3.  To make more environmentally preferable products available to
        customers.
    





For further information:

For further information: Kevin Groh, Director, Corporate Affairs,
Wal-Mart Canada, (905) 821-2111 x. 8012


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