Wal-Mart plans to start a series of new stores designed to be 25 to 30 percent more energy efficient and produce up to 30 percent fewer greenhouse gases. The company has already opened three stores designed to use 20 percent less energy, four stores designed to use 25 percent less energy and one store designed to use 45 percent less energy than typical super centers. They also plan to incorporate solar panels in these stores. Installation of 20 solar arrays had been completed at the company’s facilities in California and Hawaii.
These solar installations produced seven million kilowatt-hours of renewable energy in 2008. Apart from this, Wal-Mart had begun purchasing 226 million kilowatt-hours of wind energy last year as part of a four-year power purchase agreement with Duke Energy for stores in Texas. It is estimated that approximately 350 of Wal-Mart stores and facilities in Texas use wind-generated electricity.
Wal-Mart is also concerned in making its vehicles 25 percent more efficient within the next three years. It achieved a 38 percent increase in efficiency by installing fuel-saving technologies, loading trucks more efficiently and improving its routing system to reduce unnecessary travels.
Elimination of landfill waste at its U.S. stores and Sam’s Club facilities by 2025 is another objective taken into consideration by Wal-Mart. The company succeeded in redirecting more than 57 percent of the waste from its stores and Sam’s Club facilities. The ‘super sandwich baling process’ initiated by the company has played an important role in this regard. The process involves compression of recyclable items between layers of cardboard. It turned out to be a successful method of recycling.
As per the estimates, the company diverted 182 million pounds of loose plastic, 18.9 million pounds of plastic hangers, and 12.4 million pounds of office paper and 1.3 million pounds of aluminum from going to landfills. 25 billion pounds of cardboard has been sent to paper mills to be processed into new products.
Wal-Mart has pursued several programs to reduce the amount of packaging that goes into their products as part of their landfill elimination program. In 2006, it reduced the amount of packaging in its digital media department by 50 percent. It worked with Apple to make iPod packaging more environmental-friendly by using renewable, recyclable and sustainable materials only.
The Clinton Global Initiative 2008, which aimed at reducing global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33 percent by 2013 listed Wal-Mart’s recycling gains on the top. The company hopes that it would lead to the elimination of 135 million pounds of plastic shopping bag waste at the global level.