Gardening is good for the environment. The more plants, the more carbon dioxide is removed from the air. However when gardeners in Canada crowded into Walmart one summer, they left a costly environmental issue behind: empty wooden racks where the plants had been shelved and displayed.
Walmart asked vendors to come pick up the racks, with limited success. As plant sales increased and wooden waste piled up, workers at stores across Canada struggled to break down and dispose of the racks. General waste compactors were overflowing, health and safety issues were apparent and environmental alarms went off.
To quickly address the challenge, Walmart reached out to CHEP’s on-site experts. Was there any way the retailer's trucks - already at the stores from their distribution centers - could be used in recycling the plant racks?
"Like many of our clients, Walmart has an aspirational goal of zero waste across global operations. When they asked CHEP for help, we were able to immediately implement a sustainability solution with multiple environmental benefits."
Absolutely. Working closely with operation managers at Walmart's 400 Canadian stores, our team developed a reverse logistics and waste diversion solution to quickly and efficiently move all the excess racks to a recycling facility. As a result, this solution has helped improve health and safety for store associates, reduce waste disposal costs and positively impact waste diversion metrics.
Since the plan to recycle the wooden waste began, more than 2,000 tonnes of plant racks have been transported to recycling facilities. Since the plant racks are built from pallets, the recycler is rescuing solid pallets for reuse, and turning the remaining wood into chips and sawdust, sold as bedding for farm animals.
This approach has become a best practice, with Walmart also picking up and recycling other wooden debris. In addition, the retailer has implemented a similar solution for dozens of its large warehouse stores in the U.S.
This collaboration between CHEP and Walmart shows our commitment to sustainability through a circular economy. Reducing, reusing and recycling are key steps in creating a circular economy, powered by a circular supply chain that produces zero waste.
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CHEP helps Walmart Canada turn an unexpected reverse logistics issue into a zero waste sustainability opportunity.