Sunday, August 12, 2012

WalMart’s new approach to handling waste

The latest Failure magazine Q&A is with Edward Humes, author of the recent book “Garbology: Our Dirty Love Affair With Trash” (cover pictured below). One question/answer that seemed out of place in the final version of the interview concerned WalMart’s approach to waste and sustainability, but it seems worth highlighting here.

I asked Humes: Can you give me an example of a company that recognizes that waste is a cost and works to reduce that cost, or perhaps even turns it into a revenue stream?

His response: A really good example is WalMart. In California, since 2005 WalMart has reduced the amount they are landfilling by eighty percent. They are composting their food waste and selling that compost in their gardening department. Also, instead of paying a waste management company to haul their materials away they are actually contracting with recyclers to buy their materials. So they have gone from a waste management philosophy to a materials management philosophy. Consequently, waste has become a black ink item for them, rather than a red ink item.

Read more about America's garbage addiction in Talking Trash.

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