Rethinking Waste: Walmart Style

Here are two Rethinking Waste stories that are worth sharing for their innovative efforts to close the loop and upcycle store waste. These were shown at the Global Sustainability Milestone Meeting – November 12, 2009

1) “The Secret Life of Walmart’s Deli Pizza Box”

2) Of Styrofoam, Workforce Rehabilitation, and Pictureframes:
A great story of CSR, waste rethinking, recycling/upcycling of styrofoam, value add, and creativity. Polystyrene (aka styrofoam) is one of those plastics that is a challenge for any store to deal with. Mostly it gets dumped in landfill as there are few places that recycle it. Some associates at Walmart decided to try to find a way to close the loop on this styrofoam waste and do good in the process. They collect the store’s styrofoam and backhaul it to the distribution center where it migrated just a few blocks away to an Easter Seals facility. At the Easter Seals Workforce Development Center they feed the Styrofoam into a machine that squeezes the air out of the foam and creates dense bricks of styrene. These brick then are delivered to a picture frame company that utilizes the styrene to make new picture frames from recycled plastic. That new product is sold by Walmart. A new product made from the recycled waste of the store.  Video of the program currently only available by watching the Meeting Stream.

recycle polystyrene -> returns center -> EasterSeals -> MSC -> new product


This article is part of the Rethinking Waste series at Opportunity Sustainability


Copyright ©2009 Matthew Rochte, Opportunity Sustainability℠ – Share with attribution

Opportunity Sustainability℠ is a Midwest-based sustainability and corporate responsibility consulting firm specializing in green innovation and seeing opportunities where others see burdens. Matthew Rochte LEED AP, an experienced, operations-based sustainability consultant, working with company management to navigate and realize the opportunities in taking their company green and growing sustainably.WalmartPizzaBox

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  • Thanks for sharing these innovative initiatives! I buy Walmart pizza, and it’s great to know a little more about “the secret life” of the box. The video also reminded me about the eco-friendly GreenBox developed by ECO Inc. http://tinyurl.com/yfn66fm

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