By Jennifer Barbazza
Manager, Sustainability, Walmart Canada
At Walmart Canada our goal is to send zero waste to landfill.
Bold goal? You bet! But, we’re getting there.
The Zero Waste International Alliance defines zero waste as 90% diversion from landfills and incinerators. For 2019, our waste diversion rate was 88%. Meaning that we sent 88% of material that could have been destined for landfill to other environmentally-better end uses (reuse, donation, recycling, organic recycling etc.).
Across the entire Canadian business, from our stores to our supply chain, we’re working hard to remove waste – from food waste in our stores to better packaging for our private brands.
We’re prioritizing sustainability into everything we do.
We partner with a number of stakeholders, such as Food Banks Canada and The Salvation Army - who make sure surplus foods go to feed people, the Circular Economy Leadership Coalition – who looks to foster innovation and grow circular solutions and Earth Rangers who aim to educate youth on more environmentally sound choices.
And we’re challenging our associates, our customers, our suppliers and our communities to be more sustainable. Because it’s the right thing to do.
In celebration of Waste Reduction Week, here are the some of the ways we’re reducing waste and our environmental footprint across Walmart Canada.
1. In our stores, through our $1/$2 Bag Program, we discount repackaged bruised or peak-freshness produce.
2. With our Customer Value Program, we offer reduced prices to allow for the quick sale of fresh meat, bakery, dairy and produce items approaching their best-before dates.
3. We also have organic recycling programs in 338 stores and distribution centre locations across Canada, allowing our stores and DCs to send unsaleable or unsafe food to compost and energy instead of sending it to landfill.
4. I’m also proud to share that our stores have donated more than 25 million pounds of surplus food to food banks across the country over the past years.
5. As a business, we’re using less plastic, recycling more plastic, and supporting improvements to the plastic waste reduction system.
6. We have “unwrapped” organic banana bunches and single peppers.
7. We are also improving product packaging by increasing post-consumer recycled content and working to remove expanding polystyrene.
8. Our Walmart Recycling Playbook also offers suggestions on optimizing packaging when needed.
Walmart Canada is also proud to partner with Love Food. Hate Waste to help Canadians plan meals, use up their food and keep food fresh longer to help reduce household waste.
I’m so proud of the work Walmart Canada is doing to reduce waste. And I am proud of our company for being a leader on sustainability. Walmart Inc. recently announced regenerative goals targeting zero emissions by 2040 and aiming to protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and one million square miles of ocean by 2030 are certainly meaningful – we hope to engage and inspire others to make similar commitments and work to achieving them.
I believe we can do more. And we will. Happy Waste Reduction Week!