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Walmart taps private label suppliers to reduce plastics


BENTONVILLE, Ark. – Walmart is planning to reduce plastic waste by tapping its private label suppliers.

The initiative, announced at Walmart’s annual supplier forum, is expected to affect over 30,000 SKUs.

Walmart announced that it will work with its U.S. private brand suppliers on the following commitments:

  • Seek to achieve 100 per cent recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable packaging for its private brand packaging by 2025;
  • Target at least 20 per cent post-consumer recycled content in private brand packaging by 2025;
  • Label 100 per cent 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.

“This announcement sends a positive signal to the marketplace, especially in the United States,” said Steve Alexander, CEO of the Association for Plastics Recyclers. “We applaud Walmart for establishing such a strong recyclable packaging goal and encourage others to pursue similar ambitions.”

During the forum, Walmart encouraged its national brand suppliers to make similar packaging commitments through the retailer’s Project Gigaton platform.

The retailer also introduced a new recycling playbook designed to provide information to companies pursuing recyclable packaging and recycled content goals. The recycling playbook gives overviews on what type of plastic packaging is more easily recyclable and provides information on recycling challenges for certain packaging materials.

This new recycling guidance is a supplement to Walmart’s existing sustainable packaging playbook that offers information on sustainable packaging best practices such as optimizing packaging design and using consumer-friendly recycling labels.

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 the retailer’s 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 percent recycling rate in the U.S. by providing a scalable model to increase and improve recycling and recovery rates in local communities

As a signatory to the G7 Oceans Plastics Charter and the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment being led by the Ellen MacArthur Foundation, in collaboration with UN Environment, Walmart is working globally to reduce plastic waste within its operations and throughout its value chain. By the end of 2017, Walmart diverted from landfills 81 per cent of unsold products, packaging and other waste materials in the U.S.


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