All companies are trying to become more responsible as it helps them attract new customers. Walmart is one of the largest international retailers and it had a number of scandals in the past. People have accused the company of being irresponsible and unsustainable. However, the company stipulates that it is committed to making the difference.
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Environmental sustainability is one of the ways to achieve this goal. For instance, the company notes that they have launched a number of programs that will enable them to become packaging neutral by 2025 (Waste, 2014). The company will try to decrease the amount of waste produced during production, distribution, and consumption of Walmart’s goods.
Being packaging neutral may have many meanings. However, in the first place, becoming packaging neutral means zero waste associated with packaging. In other words, there should be no trace of packaging after the use of a product. Clearly, this does not mean that the packaging will be simply removed to a specific landfill.
It means that no packaging will reach a landfill but will be recycled and reused (or, in some cases, will disintegrate within a short period). This also means that less packaging will be employed. The company will have to use recyclable materials to be able to recycle packaging and reuse it.
Some of the challenges the company meets are the use of plastic shopping bags, bottles, plastic wraps, electronics use (Waste, 2014). It is noted that plastic shopping bags are major fillers of landfills. It is a convenient way to carry products and so people, as well as retailers, utilize them without thinking about the negative impact of plastic shopping bags. Bottles and plastic wraps have also become an indispensable part of people’s lives and they are not ready to use other types of packages.
Notably, Walmart has managed to reduce plastic waste by reducing the weight of the packaging. Hence, they are using lighter bottles and lighter plastic wraps. The company has launched certain incentives that will lead to a reduction of the number of electronic devices thrown away. Of course, there can be other challenges associated with transformation into a packaging neutral company (like energy consumption).
It is necessary to add that Walmart has done a lot in the sphere of packaging and one example suggests that it can do more than that. Walmart’s Deli Pizza Box is an example of the way packaging can be recycled and reused (Secret life of Walmart’s Deli Pizza box, 2010). This can be an example of neutral packaging as no waste reaches landfills. Cardboard is recycled and reused in the same retail chain.
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Clearly, there are certain drawbacks in the recycling chain as it is not 100% sustainable since the waste from the retailer and the recycled cardboard are shipped on trucks that go on fuel and emit harmful gases. However, this is the first step in the right direction. In the future, the company may come up with lighter packaging and the use of organic and recyclable materials only.
In conclusion, it is possible to note that Walmart is committed to reducing its waste, and it has launched numerous programs to achieve this goal. Being packaging neutral, the company will reduce the amount of waste. Lighter packages and the use of recyclable materials are the most effective strategies the company has been using.
Secret life of Walmart’s Deli Pizza box. (2010). Retrieved from https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iVScI_XS84A
Waste. (2014). Retrieved from http://corporate.walmart.com/global-responsibility/environment-sustainability/waste