Walmart is committed to complying with applicable environmental laws and regulations. Our environmental compliance program has a global reach, with subject matter experts in our corporate office and all international markets where Walmart operates. Additionally, we have a large U.S. based team that supports our domestic operations. Environmental compliance at Walmart covers a wide range of environmental issues including regulatory compliance for:
- Waste and recycling;
- Hazardous Material Transportation; and
Walmart’s environmental compliance team partners with associates throughout our business to develop and execute programs that enable compliance with applicable regulations regarding air emissions, water usage and discharges, and waste disposal and recycling by helping to:
- Develop processes and procedures for managing waste and recycling;
- Obtain permitting for assets and equipment related to waste water, storm water, and wetlands mitigation; and
- Provide environmental services to our domestic facilities in heavily regulated areas such as waste disposal, used oil, car batteries, and tires.
We believe the best compliance procedures minimize disruption to the business and maximize compliance. To achieve this, our environmental compliance team focuses on building compliance into the operating processes and systems of our businesses and on providing training, job aids and standard operating procedures to assist our associates to understand how to properly comply with environmental laws and regulations in their business. For example, in our US retail operations, compliance information is “attached” to the bar-code of products and training is provided to help associates utilize this information when shipping or disposing of items.
We also believe that it is important to not only build procedures, but to also monitor the effectiveness of the procedures. The environmental compliance team utilizes both internal and third-party audits to monitor the effectiveness of our compliance program. Regulators conduct thousands of inspections of our facilities around the world every year to ensure that our operations are compliant with local laws. In addition, we interact with environmental agencies on policy issues impacting our business and in support of Walmart’s sustainability efforts.
Paving Parking Lots with Recycled Tires
Every year our U.S. stores and clubs collect and properly dispose of approximately 16 million used tires. We wanted to find a more sustainable solution for these tires. Walmart’s environmental compliance team worked with our partners to use ground-up, recycled tires as a component of rubberized pavement. The state of California has used rubberized asphalt in road construction for over 30 years, with the California EPA noting benefits such as increased durability, safety, and cost savings. In most applications, this rubberized asphalt can be used at a reduced thickness and resists cracking up to 50% longer than conventional asphalt.
In 2017, we paved one of our parking lots using rubberized asphalt created from used tires collected from our stores and clubs. We are monitoring the performance of this pavement in comparison to the traditional asphalt currently used in our parking lots. If this pilot is successful, we may be able to turn many of the used tires we collect into useful parking lots in the future.
Working With Communities to Preserve Wetlands
Over the past 50 years Walmart has become a significant landowner in the United States. Through our expansion the company has created, obtained, and maintained nearly 150 wetlands.
We are working with NGOs, nonprofits, land banks and the public sector to donate wetlands on our properties to entities that will maintain and preserve them for public and environmental benefit. By establishing these relationships, donating wetlands to experts within the environmental field, and opening accessibility to these resources, we are striving to be a good neighbor and to help provide cleaner groundwater and drinking water for future generations. Examples of donated wetlands include:
- In 2016, we donated a 3.21-acre wetland that was constructed in the course of building a supercenter to the city of Logan, Utah. The wetland, which was built to mitigate the impact to small streams on the property, provides an excellent habitat for local plants and wildlife.
- In 2017, Walmart donated a five-acre wetland to the city of Spencer, Iowa. The Iowa Department of Natural Resources and Iowa Department of Agriculture partnered with the city to transform the wetland into a massive stormwater collection and slow filtration system. The system captures water run-off from nearby agricultural fields and additional impervious surfaces, decreasing nutrient loading in nearby streams and increasing habitat territory for local fauna.
- Walmart recently donated a 14.6 acre wetland to the city of Bryan, Ohio. The donated wetland will be used by the city’s schools as an outdoor environmental education site, providing an interactive learning experience for students to see the benefits wetlands provide.