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Walmart: enhancing sustainability with recycled shopping carts

Brittany Hill
|Nov 19|magazine10 min read

Multinational retail corporation - Walmart - shares its latest efforts to drive sustainability. 

2015, saw hundreds of nations sign the Paris Agreement to undertake ambitious targets to combat climate change. As a result, organisations across the world such as Amazon and Etsy are setting greenhouse gas emissions targets to reduce global warming below two degrees celsius.

What are Walmart’s sustainability targets?

When it comes to sustainability, Walmart has three aspirational goals that it wants to implement across not only its operations, but its global value chain too. These three goals include:

  • Zero waste

  • Operate with 100% renewable energy

  • Sell products that sustain its resources and the environment

Over the last few months, Walmart US has been making implementation both internally and externally to improve its sustainability including, the completion of 120 electric car charging stations at its stores, committing to more sustainably sourced private coffee brands and agreeing to subscribe to 36 community solar gardens.

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Late last week, Walmart US shared its recycling process to make its shopping cart production more sustainable. Currently, Unarco - a retail equipment company - has produced 3.4mn shopping carts for Walmart using its developed process of remanufacturing. Using its patented process, Unarco burns off the rust on the shopping carts, extending the life of the steel. In addition, the wheels and plastic is salvaged to be recycled to further reduce waste. 

Key environmental saving figures as a result include:

  • 485.3mn pounds of carbon emissions

  • 3.6bn gallons of water

  • 407mn kilowatts of electricity

“Recycling shopping carts has been the right thing to do from a sustainability perspective,” said Muriel McSweeny, senior sourcing manager for Walmart. “We are able to help keep the materials from heading to a landfill prematurely. We are also able to provide a savings to the stores because we aren’t having to pay steel costs. It’s all part of our mission to keep costs down and help customers save money."

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Image source: Walmart