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Wal-Mart Canada Phases Out Plastic Packaging Across Entire Product Category


Company makes sustainable packaging changes to CFL bulbs and supports its goal to reduce the packaging of products sold in its stores

Mississauga, ON, May 2008 – Supporting its goal to reduce the packaging of products sold in its stores, Wal-Mart Canada announced today that it will phase out all PVC plastic packaging in the energy saving light bulb category and replace it with more environmentally preferable cardboard packaging. The change will eliminate an estimated 150,000 pounds of PVC plastic waste each year, increase package recyclability and save natural resources.

Over 65 per cent of the new cardboard packaging is made from 100 per cent recycled material and 30 per cent use vegetable dye in the ink process. The company is also carrying the first widely available low-mercury compact fluorescent light bulb (CFL) in its stores nationwide.

“Just eight per cent of Wal-Mart Canada’s environmental footprint is related to our own operations,” said Guy McGuffin, vice president and sustainable packaging network leader at Wal-Mart Canada. “The remainder is linked to the products we sell, so we’ve been working for some time with suppliers and challenging them to make products and packaging with the environment in mind.”

Wal-Mart has a goal to reduce the packaging on the products sold in its stores by five per cent by 2013. It is estimated that this change will have the equivalent impact of removing 213,000 trucks from the road, saving approximately 324,000 tonnes of coal and 67 million gallons of diesel fuel each year.

The company has introduced a packaging scorecard to help it achieve this goal, which looks at factors such as the energy used to create packaging, whether packaging can be reduced or eliminated, recyclability and whether materials used are renewable, biodegradable or compostable. The scorecard will be an important tool for Wal-Mart Canada buyers when selecting the products the company carries on its shelves.

“While our primary aim is to achieve our goal of producing zero waste, we also hope to be a catalyst for change across the packaging and retail industry,” added McGuffin. “We want to share with other retailers and the business world at-large that packaging changes make sense from both an environmental and business perspective. Reducing packaging means less money spent on materials, shipping and less space taken on our shelves. At the same time, fewer natural resources are used and less waste is produced.”

Wal-Mart Canada has 14 internal networks working to incorporate sustainability throughout the company in areas ranging from packaging to logistics. Since 2005, Wal-Mart has been actively involved in environmental sustainability and working towards three long-term goals globally and in Canada:

1. To produce zero waste;
2. To be powered 100 per cent by renewable energy; and,
3. To make more environmentally preferable products available to customers.


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