Home News Wal-Mart Rolls Out The Plastic Sandwich Bale

Wal-Mart Rolls Out The Plastic Sandwich Bale

Bentonville, Ark., August 5, 2005 -- Wal-Mart, in partnership with Rocky Mountain Recycling, is stepping up a pilot program that promises to keep tons of plastic out of landfills and revolutionize plastic recycling.  The Plastic Sandwich Bale™ is a new process that is going to revolutionize the way retailers think about recycling and waste management. 

“In just 11 months, in just 10 percent of our stores, we’ve recycled enough plastic to fill a football stadium 38 feet deep,” says Dick Pastor, director of environmental management for Wal-Mart. “This program could quite possibly become one of Wal-Mart’s biggest recycling efforts to date.  We are so happy with the results that we’re adding another 267 stores to the program this fall.”

The Plastic Sandwich Bale works like this:
• Wal-Mart and SAM’S CLUB associates place 10 to 20 inches of cardboard at the bottom of large trash compactors that already exist at store locations. 
• Shrink wrap, plastic bags, apparel bags and other loose plastic is loaded in, and another section of cardboard is placed on top. 
• The compactor then presses the bale into a “sandwich” with 9 inches to 18 inches of recyclable plastic in the middle. 
• These bales are then loaded onto a truck to be recycled into other products that range from very dense plastic lumber to very thin shopping bags.

Wal-Mart facilities in the United States have already been recycling plastic for a number of years.  So far, in 2005, the company has recycled over 5,734 tons of plastic.  “We wanted to explore new ways to improve our recycling efforts, and saw an opportunity to lead the charge to increase plastic bag and film recycling,” says Pastor.  In September of 2004, the company launched the Plastic Sandwich Bale as a pilot program in 326 Wal-Mart stores and SAM’S CLUBS. 

To date, the Plastic Sandwich Bale has sent 1,100 tons of plastic to recycling centers instead of landfills.  Now, Wal-Mart is excited to roll out the program in 593 stores in 15 states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Hawaii, Idaho, Kansas, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oregon, Utah, Washington, Wyoming, and in some areas of Connecticut, and New York. 

Rocky Mountain Recycling Sales Manager Jeff Ashby says the Plastic Sandwich Bale, solves a long-standing barrier to plastic recycling by compressing loose plastic into a bale sandwiched between two layers of cardboard.  “The compressed plastic is easier and more efficient to transport to recycle centers,” he adds.

"The American Plastics Council (APC) applauds Wal-Mart and Rocky Mountain Recycling for their dedicated efforts to identify and implement new plastic recycling programs,” said Tim Shestek, APC’s western regional director of state and local public affairs.  APC looks forward to working with Wal-Mart and its partners on this and other plastic film recovery programs."

Fast Facts:

The Plastic Sandwich Bale process:

• Uses existing balers within the stores.
• Promotes recycling of plastic shopping bags, garment bags from apparel and shrink wrap from pallets of freight within the stores.
• Effectively reduces large volumes of loose plastic collected within the stores.
• Eliminates one out of five waste compactor hauls per store (Due to reduction of waste volume).
• Allows transportation of plastic on flatbed trailers. (The cardboard sections provide containment of the plastic, reducing litter and bale integrity issues).
• Provides a steady supply of clean recovered Polyethylene for the plastic industry.

To learn more about APC, its recycling resources, and the benefits of lightweight plastic packaging, log on to www.plasticsresource.com.

Learn more about Wal-Mart’s environmental initiatives on www.walmartfacts.com.

Digital photos available at the top of this page.

About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart Stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and SAM’S CLUB locations in the United States. Internationally, the company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Germany, Japan, Mexico, Puerto Rico, South Korea and the United Kingdom. The company’s securities are listed on the New York and Pacific stock exchanges under the symbol WMT.  More information about Wal-Mart can be found by visiting www.walmartfacts.com.  Online merchandise sales are available at www.walmart.com.

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