Reducing plastic bag waste around the globe
In 2011, we reduced plastic bag waste across our global operations by approximately 3.1 billion bags, a 35% reduction per store from our 2007 baseline. We have a goal to reduce the weight of plastic bag waste by 33% globally by 2013, which would mean:
- a reduction of 9 billion bags annually
- the elimination of more than 135 million pounds of plastic shopping bag waste globally
- the equivalent of 678,000 barrels of oil every year
- a greenhouse gas reduction of 290,000 metric tons
Walmart Brazil has served as a leader from the beginning, committing to reduce plastic bag waste by at least 50% by 2013. From the sale of 2.5 million reusable bags in just two years to cashier training, we have already reduced plastic bag waste 48% (from a 2007 baseline) in Brazil.
One of our most innovative initiatives in Brazil is an incentive program that offers customer discounts for finding an alternative to plastic bags. The initiative has awarded more than $1.1 million in customer rebates since 2008 and continues to spread across the country. We remain an active partner with the Ministry of Environment and other Brazilian organizations to raise customer awareness of this important environmental issue. Other international highlights from 2011 include:
- In Chile, we created a new bag made of 75% recycled plastic that has the potential to divert 1,500 tons of plastic from landfills annually.
- In Mexico, we sold 130,000 foldable trolleys, each of which eliminates the need for five plastic bags per store visit. We also sold 3.5 million reusable green bags, which reduced traditional plastic bag use by an estimated 540 million.
- In Argentina, through the continued success of our Ecologic Checkouts – lanes that do not stock plastic shopping bags – and other initiatives, we reduced bag waste by 69% (2007 baseline).
- In China, through a variety of programs, we have realized a reduction of 86% (2007 baseline).