The world generates almost 2.01 billion tonnes of solid waste annually. Global companies are moving towards zero waste as people are becoming more environmentally conscious. So, the world’s most popular grocery chain Walmart is zero-waste? let’s find out ‘Is Walmart Zero Waste?’
Walmart has set a Market-Specific goal of accomplishing Zero Waste by 2025. Walmart has Globally redirected more than 81 percent of waste from landfills and incineration in 2020. So, Walmart might become a zero-waste company in a few years, But will they do that? because waste is a global problem and zero-waste affects the revenues of a company.
What is Zero Waste?
Zero waste is a process that focuses on resource conservation using responsible production, consumption, reuse, and recovery of all products, packaging, and materials, without burning them and generating waste. This can be done through responsible recycling.
When will Walmart become zero-waste?
As we are heading towards the future, the main concern we all share commonly is global warming. More advancement will lead to more pollution, waste generation, disposal, etc. Every other organization is coming up with plans and ideas to go zero waste or achieve zero waste in the upcoming years. Walmart plans to reach zero waste by 2025 in major countries such as Canada, the USA, the UK, and Japan; that is, it isn’t zero waste yet in 2022. They aim to move toward a circular economy by reducing product production and household waste.
Walmart Zero-Waste Initiative
According to Vonda Lockwood, director of innovations, sustainability, and compliance with Wal-Mart, their zero-waste initiative is divided into three parts –
- Electronics recycling
- Eliminating Waste
- Packaging management
They also intend to focus on customer engagement and invest in local infrastructure, which they believe will bring them close to their goal of Zero Waste.
Electronic waste recycling at Walmart
Walmart has an ongoing trade-in program where consumers can come in with their old electronics – e-readers, tablets, cell phones, digital cameras, camcorders, game systems, MP3 players, car audio players, GPS navigators, and car amplifiers and trade them for free or send them in for recycling. They have collaborated with Samsung Electronics and Gazelle for this service.
Trading can be done through Gazelle, a recycling service, by going to their online store and finding out their nearest drop-off location. The consumers will get the chance to earn prepaid visa cards to trade their electronics.
A small nominal fee is charged if the electronics are not of Samsung or Walmart’s private brand. Otherwise, it’s free.
Eliminating Food Waste at Waste
Walmart’s primary concern is the food waste generated since it is one of the lead sellers of groceries throughout America. They aim to tackle this issue in the following ways:
- Revamp their supply chain operations by not ordering more than required to reduce waste.
- Provide meals for the community by donating unsold food incompletely in good condition.
- Focus on their “best before” label system on food items so that consumers realize that the food hasn’t gone bad after that specific date but is not in its peak freshness stage anymore. This will enable customers to use it instead of throwing it away, assuming it has gone wrong.
- Diverting all non-edible food towards animal feed, converting it into fuels and fertilizers.
Walmart has partnered with Georgia-Pacific to help them eliminate food waste using the concept of “Super Sandwich Bales,” which converts the waste into bales and then is sent off to material recovery facilities that process that material, sell them, and share its profit with Walmart and its partner.
Walmart desires to create 100% recyclable, reusable, and compostable packaging. They want to be packaging neutral by 2025, which means they will recover the product packaging material after it has gone through reusing or recycling. They are also encouraging their customers to be more aware of their zero waste initiative and stop the usage of plastic bags altogether.
Pros and cons of going Zero-waste
- It helps increase and maintain landfill space for the materials.
- Once the material is recycled, The toxins released into air and water decrease. This helps in maintaining the environment.
- It helps in saving money for customers and the company.
- Brings the best out of the three Rs (Reduce, Reuse and Recycle).
- This is a time-consuming process.
- It takes extra discipline to get it done.
- Not everyone is committed to zero waste which creates a conflict of interest.
As of 2022, Walmart is not 100% Zero-waste but they are in the process of being one. Walmart is targeting to put an end to plastic waste by exploring the three Rs of waste management (i.e., Reduce, Reuse, Recycle). For example, by doing this, they are reducing, reusing, and recycling plastic needed to run their business. Just like plastic, they will be implying this possibly everywhere to make their multinational company, Zero-Waste.