One of Walmart’s three global sustainability goals is to create zero waste across its operations. While this goal may be bold, we continue to make measurable progress to deliver on this commitment. Walmart Canada has programs in place to divert more than a dozen waste-streams from landfill. Walmart Canada now diverts 83 per cent of its operational waste.
We believe food waste is a significant social and environmental problem. Good food should never go to waste, period.
In Canada, Walmart stores have donated more than 11 million pounds of food to food banks across the country through our comprehensive food diversion program. This program pairs Walmart Canada stores with a local food bank and ensures good food is donated to those who need it most. Globally, Walmart donates one billion pounds of food in North America each year.
So, what are we doing about food waste?
Walmart Canada has committed to achieving zero food waste by 2025, building on business and philanthropic initiatives to eliminate waste and relieve hunger that have been underway since 2005. Walmart Canada reduced food waste in its own operations by 23 percent between 2015 and 2017.
The company’s journey to achieving this goal will continue to be guided by a three-part strategy:
Improving operational efficiencies while enhancing value to the customer by efforts such as:
- Discounting repackaged bruised or peak-freshness produce through Walmart’s $1/$2 Bag Program and reducing prices with Walmart’s Customer Value Program to allow for the quick sale of fresh meat, bakery, dairy and produce items approaching their best-before dates
- Improving bakery production operations to reduce over-production and create more consistent quality
- Providing additional processes, training and resources to associates
- Implementing organic recycling programs in 338 stores and distribution centre locations across Canada, allowing facilities to recycle unsaleable and unsafe food into compost and energy instead of sending it to landfill
Increasing food donations: All Walmart Canada stores will be paired with local food banks to maximize surplus food donations, with approximately 85 per cent of stores regularly donating their surplus food products. Through a similar program in Walmart US, Walmart has been able to provide millions of pounds of much-needed fresh food into the charitable meal system
Providing philanthropic support: Walmart Canada has committed $1 million CAD to Food Banks Canada for the 2018 Fight Hunger. Spark Change. Campaign in support of food banks across the country.
The image below shows the U.S Environmental Protection Agency's Food Recovery Hierarchy. Walmart Canada uses this as a guide for our food waste management efforts:
Plastic Waste Reduction
Each year, Canadians use billions of plastic bags. A reduction and potential elimination of single-use shopping bags represent a tremendous opportunity to minimize the amount of waste being sent to landfills.
Reducing the amount of plastic sent to municipal landfill sites has been our focus since 2005. As part of that effort, Walmart has expanded the sale of reusable bags and improved in-store bag recycling programs. We continue to work with suppliers to develop innovative packaging that reduces the need for bags.
On February 9, 2016, Walmart Canada began phasing out free, single-use shopping bags at Canadian Walmart stores. In place of these bags, we are encouraging customers to use reusable bags offered for 97 cents in-store.
How our customers can help
- Bring your own reusable bag to help reduce waste or purchase a reusable bag from Walmart Canada.
- Return your plastic bags to your local Walmart Canada store so they can be recycled through our plastic film recycling program.
In 2014, Walmart Canada launched its Store Operations Reclamation Transformation (SORT) program to divert general merchandise products from compactors, which would otherwise end up in municipal landfills. Since launching the program, we have kept 34,000 pallets of product out of store compactors – this is the equivalent of 1,300 truckloads of freight!