Much to the relief of the chemical and plastic manufacturing community, the big box retailer giant Wal-Mart opts to reduce, reuse and recycle instead of implementing plastic shopping bag bans.Yesterday, Wal-Mart announced its goal to reduce its global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33% per store by 2013, amounting to more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste globally. The initiative is expected to reduce Wal-Mart’s energy consumption by around 678,000 barrels of oil per year and reduce CO2 emissions by 290,000 metric tons per year.
We think we can eliminate plastic waste equivalent to 9 billion plastic bags per year from our existing stores alone,” said Matt Kistler, senior vice president for sustainability of Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. “If we can encourage consumers to change their behavior, just one bag at a time, we believe real progress can be made toward our goal of creating zero waste.”
Instead of 33%, Wal-Mart Canada plans its own goal of a 50% reduction, already having a head-start of 15% reduced plastic shopping bag waste this year. Wal-Mart Canada said its long-term sustainability goals include zero waste; to be powered 100% by renewable energy; and to make more eco-friendly products available to customers.By the way, in a separate news, Hawaii county’s acting mayor is said to have vetoed a proposed plastic bag ban in favor of recycling, the American Chemistry Council reported.According to the mayor:
“I believe it is better to work to change people’s hearts so they change their own behavior rather than outlawing a commodity (plastic bags) that many people find useful. If we focus on educating our residents about the benefits of reusable bags along with proper disposal (reuse and recycling) of plastic bags, we will change attitudes and behaviors.”