Working smarter with slimmer packaging

We’re using smarter packaging on the products you see on our store shelves, as well as in our operations behind the scenes. By working with suppliers to rethink our processes and product presentation, we’re cutting back on unnecessary waste and saving our customers money.

Rethinking packaging

We all know the 3 “R’s” of sustainability – reduce, reuse, and recycle.  At Walmart, there’s a fourth “R” – rethink. So much of what we do cuts across multiple categories as we try to find new ways to protect our planet. On the surface, packaging represents an opportunity to preserve precious natural resources, but the trickle-down effect runs much deeper. Even the smallest reduction lowers suppliers’ costs, enables them to ship their products more efficiently, cuts greenhouse gas emissions and saves our customers money.

We work directly with our suppliers and partner with leaders in manufacturing, academia, government and other key stakeholders to drive progress in packaging reduction. In 2011, we eliminated more than 1 billion feet of wire ties from our toy packaging – enough to wrap around the earth nearly 8 times.

Success in footwear packaging

During the first 10 months of 2011, we used about 14.4 million footwear replenishment boxes, reducing paper consumption by 692 tons, the environmental equivalent of more than 2,500 trees. We also avoided 400,000 pounds of solid waste and consumed 2.4 million fewer gallons of water.

We saw an opportunity to improve the packaging used for our shoes, and we redesigned the footwear replenishment box – a large box used throughout our supply chain to ship loose footwear not sold in traditional shoeboxes. The new box uses just a single source of paper, fits multiple pairs of shoes and serves as a protective barrier during shipping -- while using 43% less paper and reducing costs by 28%.