Thursday, October 20, 2005

Philadelphia Inquirer | 10/20/2005 | Wal-Mart goes more eco-friendly

Wal-Mart goes more eco-friendly

The retail giant is leading a switch from petroleum-based plastic packaging to corn-based. High oil prices are at the root.

By Harold Brubaker

Inquirer Staff Writer

Wal-Mart is going green.

The retail giant, which is also the nation's largest grocery seller, is beginning to switch from petroleum-based to corn-based plastic packaging.

The first substitution, starting Nov. 1, involves 114 million clear-plastic clamshell containers used annually by the retailer for cut fruit, herbs, strawberries and brussels sprouts, Wal-Mart executive Matt Kistler said yesterday at a conference in Philadelphia.

"With this change to packaging made from corn, we will save the equivalent of 800,000 gallons of gasoline and reduce more than 11 million pounds of greenhouse-gas emissions," said Kistler, vice president for product development and private brands for the company's Sam's Club division.

"This is a way to make a change positive for the environment and for business," he said at the Sustainable Packaging Forum at the Sheraton Society Hill Hotel.

The adoption of environmentally friendly packaging at Wal-Mart Stores Inc., which has an unparalleled ability to mandate change in the consumer-products world, is a huge win for NatureWorks L.L.C., a Minnesota-based division of agricultural commodity giant Cargill Inc.

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