Targeting zero waste: In search of organic solutions
Walmart Canada continues to make progress while also overcoming our share of challenges as we pursue our core environmental goal of creating zero waste in our national retail stores.
These were the key waste diversion priorities in 2011:
- Reduce the organic food waste created by our expanding grocery operations
- Develop strategies to prevent e-waste (electronic waste) from going to landfill
- Adjust how we measure and report waste diversion KPIs
- Lead Walmart’s global waste diversion team
Clearing our plate
As we open more supercentres with larger-scale grocery departments, our stores face the daily challenge of diverting a growing volume of organic food waste.
Walmart Canada has found AD to be an excellent method of organic waste diversion. In 2011, we recycled 200 per cent more food waste than 2010 and diverted 10,000 metric tonnes of organic waste from landfill.
Our waste diversion team is also focused on finding new outlets for electronic waste. This is a hot-button issue affecting landfills all over North America, who are slowly but surely shutting their gates to any kind of electronics – what our team calls, ‘stuff with a plug’. This extensive list includes everything from TVs, computers and electronics to kitchen appliances – many of which use heavy metals, chemicals and plastics, which can contaminate landfill sites. While the e-waste issue is not specific to our business, it’s a massive problem facing the retail industry as a whole and consumers themselves. We are currently reviewing options on how best to approach the issue.
Adjusting waste metrics
Since launching our waste program in 2007, we have managed to increase the volume diverted each year. This measurement guides a specific KPI number, which can be found in our CSR Reports. In 2011, under the guidance of the Recycling Council of Ontario, we adjusted how to calculate our re-use figures. The adjustment means that our waste diversion totals for 2010 are actually five per cent lower than first reported. All future reports, including this one, will use the new calculation.
Canadian team leads Global Waste Diversion Team
We were honoured this past year when Walmart asked us to lead their global waste diversion team – tasked with the challenge of improving reduction in our worldwide network of retail stores. The Canadian team is now actively working with their counterparts in other regions to help shape policy and share best practices – with a goal to apply their learning to future programs here.