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A Word About Recycling with Ollie Maier

Sunday, March 31, 2019

A recent article in the Recycling Today newsletter caught my eye as it mentions Walmart – and most of us are familiar with their stores throughout the nation. As I read the article, I liked learning what their additional efforts are now to reduce waste and make things even more recyclable.

The article was titled: “Walmart makes plastic packaging waste reduction commitments.”

“The new initiatives are aimed at advancing the sustainability of the retailer’s private brand packaging and promoting consumer-friendly recycling labels.

"To start these additional efforts, Walmart issued some new plastic waste reduction commitments in its large private brand program. These new commitments are expected to affect more than 30,000 stockkeeping units (SKUs).”

It should be noted the new commitments will be building upon their existing efforts to reduce plastic waste in Walmart U.S. and Sam’s Club operations.

“They also involve encouraging their national brand suppliers to develop similar packaging goals.”

Some of the goals are to:

  • Seek to achieve 100 percent recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable packaging for its private brand packaging by 2025;
  • Target at least 20 percent postconsumer recycled content in private brand packaging by 2025;
  • Label 100 percent of food and consumable private brand packaging with the How2Recycle label by 2022;
  • Work with suppliers to eliminate the nonrecyclable packaging material PVC (polyvinyl chloride) in general merchandise packaging by 2020; and
  • Reduce private brand plastic packaging when possible.

Walmart also developed a new recycling playbook to provide information to supplying companies showing the desired recyclable packaging and recycled content goals. This new book adds to the existing Walmart packaging playbook which provides information on sustainable packaging, Some of these best practices are optimizing packaging design and using consumer-friendly recycling labels.

As plastic waste is a concern for the Walmart customers, their associates, and other key stakeholders, the retailers desire is to achieve zero plastic waste.

Some of the retailer’s current efforts to reach this goal include:

  • offering low-cost, high-quality alternatives for single-use plastic consumable products, such as straws, cutlery and disposable tabletops;
  • recycling shrink wrap in most markets – 151 million pounds of plastics were recycled globally in 2017;
  • providing access to instore plastic bag and film recycling bins for customers; and
  • encouraging suppliers to include the How2Recycle label on pack — last year more than 800 Walmart private label suppliers participated.

“We applaud Walmart for establishing such a strong recyclable packaging goal and encourage others to pursue similar ambitions,” the CEO of the Association of Plastics Recyclers said.

Till next week, do have an enjoyable and safe one. And when you get them in place of your cloth or paper bags, don’t forget to recycle those plastic bags at Walmart, HEB, or wherever they take them.


Ollie is a local citizen concerned with the environment and helping others. A retired Air Force fighter and instructor pilot, he is a graduate of Leadership San Marcos and received his degrees at Texas State University where he worked on staff before totally retiring. For questions or comments, he invites you to call him at 512-353-7432 or e-mail

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