Walmart's Great Value Bottle Redesign Yields Big Savings
May 10, 2012
Yesterday Walmart concluded its 7th annual two-day Sustainable Packaging Exposition where more than 200 packaging suppliers showcased their latest innovations.
But Walmart had one of its own innovations to share, according to the retailer’s Green Room blog. Walmart recently changed the shape of its Great Value cooking oil bottle, which eliminated 830,000 pounds of resin equal to the weight of 41,000 cast iron pans, demonstrating how “the shape of a bottle or box, can translate into a bigger environmental impact,” according to the blog.
Another recent win involved a deep collaboration between Sam’s Club and General Mills. Ultimately Cheerios packaging was change from one large box with two bags to two smaller boxes with one bag each, which yielded a 4 percent materials reduction.
“I’m often asked by Walmart associates, suppliers and materials manufacturers whether our packaging sustainability efforts are actually generating meaningful results,” Ron Sasine, senior director of packaging procurement at Walmart, wrong on the blog. “Each of these groups have different perspectives and aspirations behind this question, but after taking stock of what our suppliers have accomplished this past year, I can answer with a definitive ‘yes.’”
The real measure of success, he said, is whether Walmart meets its customers’ needs for products that use less material and energy, and promote recycling. “ On every measure, the achievements of the past year light up the scoreboard. Breakfast cereals in more efficient cartons, smaller shipper cases for imported footwear and resource-efficient lunch meat packaging are all examples of doing better with less, and every one of these projects helps drive our business.”
The retailer’s Sustainable Packaging Expo attracts hundreds of CPG and packaging suppliers, allowing Walmart and Sam’s Club buyers to visit their booths and get updates on new initiatives and ideas.
Sasine said he was particularly excited about this year’s event “because it comes at a time when our company’s leadership is reinvigorating and expanding our sustainability efforts. Soon, every buyer in our U.S. business will have sustainability goals. These goals will require buyers and suppliers to work together to identify, prioritize and execute projects that will drive additional efficiency improvements and cost savings.”
GRD Views: Having just returned from Walmart’s Expo, it was fascinating to see the level of engagement among manufacturers, Walmart associates and packaging companies all focused on sustainable packaging. In reviewing success stories at the Expo, I was particularly struck by the compounded savings in both packaging materials and transportation costs from well executed initiatives. Anyone still uncertain of the financial benefits from sustainable packaging should give me a call. Congratulations to Ron Sasine, Chet Rutledge and Robert Parvis on a very productive event. -- John Failla for Green Retail Decisions
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