Mega-retailer is rolling out lofty goals for packaging waste reduction and sustainability

When Walmart held its annual supplier forum in February, the retail behemoth announced an aggressive strategy to reduce plastic waste and encourage sustainability in its consumer packaging.

According to an article by Anne Marie Mohan in Packaging World, this waste-reduction incentive is expected to impact more than 30,000 SKUs. Walmart is beginning with its private brand packaging, but they are encouraging all their suppliers to make similar commitments to reducing packaging waste.

Quoted in the article, Laura Phillips, Senior Vice President for Global Sustainability at Walmart, said, “We’ve been working hard to achieve zero waste in our own operations for years…. We’ve also been working on packaging. We published our Sustainable Packaging Playbook several years ago, and we’ve been very much focused on packaging sustainability in our supply chain.”

Walmart’s goals include:

  • 20% post-consumer recycled (PCR) content in private brand packaging by 2025
  • 100% recyclable, reusable, or industrially compostable packaging for its private brand packaging by 2025
  • Labeling 100% of food and consumable private brand packaging with the How2Recycle® label by 2022
  • Elimination of the non-recyclable PVC packaging material in its general merchandise packaging by 2020

To help suppliers with this aggressive initiative, Walmart introduced a new recycling guide for suppliers that gives overviews on what type of plastic packaging is more easily recyclable and provides information on recycling challenges for certain packaging materials.

Commenting in the article on Walmart’s goal of achieving 100% recyclable, reusable, or industrially compostable packaging for its private brand packaging by 2025, Phillips said Walmart is seeing some innovation with new materials. “One example is PVC, where we’re working with our suppliers to transition over to a recyclable PET material,” she explained. “We’re also seeing interesting new materials that are corrugated-based that are very sturdy and so allow us to eliminate the Styrofoam in packages and replace it with a material that is just as strong but is recyclable.

“We completed an analysis and identified five key plastic packaging materials that we want to target, and we’re working very closely with those suppliers and those supply chains to look at what we can do to help increase the collection as well as the recycled content in those five key areas.”

Amgraph is proud to have adhered to Walmart’s Sustainable Packaging Playbook since its inception. We are also registered as meeting the requirements of the SQF Code A HACCP-Based Supplier Assurance Code for the Food Industry.

For suppliers who need to meet new standards like Walmart’s—or who are just looking to improve their carbon footprint and bring a greener product to market—Amgraph’s flexible packaging offers an excellent alternative to plastic. By utilizing innovative substrate materials like paper, light gauge films, foil, and other recyclable and/or compostable products, we can offer:

  • Improved barrier control while using fewer raw materials
  • Lower package weight for reduced shipping costs
  • Higher-quality packaging that holds up in transit and storage
  • Traceability from start to finish

We’re proud to provide manufacturers with a greener and safer solution when they are striving to meet more stringent sustainability standards. And we do it while creating aesthetically pleasing, consumer-friendly packages. That’s our mission—better packaging for a better environment!