Home News Wal-Mart Announces Major Mercury Reduction in Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

Wal-Mart Announces Major Mercury Reduction in Compact Fluorescent Light Bulbs

New Mercury Reductions Improve Bulbs’ Environmental Performance

Bentonville, Ark., May 10, 2007
– Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. today announced that it will dramatically lower the amount of mercury in the compact fluorescent light bulbs (CFLs) sold in Wal-Mart stores and Sam’s Clubs. Wal-Mart estimates that the new reductions will effectively remove an average of 360 pounds of mercury per 100 million CFLs sold in its stores and Clubs, a reduction of 33 percent (based on 13W bulbs).

“Wal-Mart is committed to selling only ENERGY STAR-qualified CFLs that are safe for our customers and great for the environment,” said Andy Ruben, vice president of strategy and sustainability for Wal-Mart. “By partnering with our manufacturers, we are achieving mercury reductions in CFLs before they reach our store shelves. We’re starting at the source to make sure our bulbs have the least amount of mercury possible. The reductions will ensure that consumers can take advantage of the financial and environmental benefits of CFLs now. Today’s action is a great win for the environment and our customers.”

To reduce the amount of mercury in its CFLs, Wal-Mart worked closely with manufacturers GE, Royal Philips, Osram Sylvania and Lights of America. All four suppliers committed to achieving a greater reduction in mercury content than the 5 mg standard set by the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA) earlier this year. These suppliers will also adhere to clean production techniques that will minimize mercury pollution from factories manufacturing CFLs.

“People concerned about the environment and their health can buy these CFLs with a clear conscience,” said Noah Horowitz, senior scientist with the Natural Resources Defense Council. “With the commitments announced today, the amount of mercury in each bulb will become vanishingly small. Clean production techniques for manufacturing the bulbs will further boost the environmental benefit. In fact, the energy savings delivered through the use of CFLs will actually reduce more mercury pollution from coal-fired power plants than is added through manufacture of the bulbs.”

According to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, coal-fired power plants emit four times more mercury to power an incandescent bulb than to power a CFL; emitting 13.6 mg of mercury compared to just 3.3 mg for a CFL. Wal-Mart’s new standard will ensure that the bulbs sold in its stores and Clubs contain less than 5 mg of mercury. The reduction is another step in Wal-Mart’s campaign to sell 100 million CFLs by 2008. Converting just one conventional light bulb to a CFL can save up to $30 in electric costs over its lifetime, prevent more than 110 lbs. of coal from being burned, and reduce greenhouse gas emissions by 450 lbs.

Supplier Commitments

• GE Consumer & Industrial will reduce CFL mercury content up to 50 percent from NEMA levels in new products, while maintaining the excellent light quality and long life that GE customers expect.
• Philips currently supplies Wal-Mart with CFLs that have mercury contents 40 to 60 percent below the NEMA level of 5 mg per unit (for CFLs less than 25W). Philips utilizes pellet dosing versus liquid mercury to ensure safe and accurate levels of mercury per bulb, and continues to look for ways to reduce the amount of mercury in its CFL, while still maintaining the lamps’ high quality and performance characteristics.
• OSRAM SYLVANIA CFLs currently meet the NEMA standard of 5 mg of mercury, with reflector lamps that are 40 percent lower at 3 mg. Sylvania has committed to reducing the mercury content in all of its CFLs to 4 mg or less by the end of 2007, and to 2.5 mg by the end of 2008.
• Lights of America will reduce the amount of mercury in its CFLs by up to 50 percent. Wal-Mart’s new standards have resulted in Lights of America identifying a different metal alloy technology that improves bulb performance while requiring less mercury per bulb. This technology is currently being added to Lights of America CFLs and the company expects all of its bulbs to have no more than 2 mg of mercury by the end of 2007.
About Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. (NYSE: WMT)
Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. operates Wal-Mart discount stores, Supercenters, Neighborhood Markets and Sam’s Club locations in the United States.  The Company operates in Argentina, Brazil, Canada, China, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Japan, Mexico, Nicaragua, Puerto Rico and the United Kingdom.  The Company’s securities are listed on the New York Stock Exchange 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.