Less than 14% of plastic packaging was collected for recycling globally in 2016, with the rest ending up in landfills, rivers and oceans, according to the Ellen MacArthur Foundation.

At Walmart, sustainable packaging embraces the concept of a “circular economy,” which moves away from a “take-make-dispose” approach to one that values the reuse and regeneration of materials and energy. We’ve extended our zero waste aspiration beyond our own operations to include our whole supply chain. Is your business ready to make more sustainable packaging choices?

Get Involved

As part of your Project Gigaton™ efforts, help drive change by focusing on 1) design optimization, 2) sourcing sustainably and 3) supporting recycling. Walmart has specific goals focused on our private brand packaging and we recommend all suppliers review Walmart's Zero Plastic Waste Aspiration when setting a Project Gigaton™ goal. For example, you could commit to:

  • We will design 100 percent of packaging to be fully recyclable by 2030.
  • Increase use of recycled content by 20 percent by 2025.
  • Lessen the weight of your packaging by 10 percent by 2025.
  • We will reduce 10% of our virgin plastic packaging by 2025.

The above goals are illustrative examples only. You’ll need to determine the scope, timeline and type of goal that makes sense for your company and products. After joining Project Gigaton™, you’ll be asked to report on your progress annually so the impact can be recognized and attributed toward the Project Gigaton™ target.

As you consider your goal, make sure to check out the Project Gigaton™ Calculators, which may help you identify potential goal areas in each pillar and estimate the emissions impact of your work.

As you look to develop your packaging target, please consider the sustainable packaging priority areas outlined in the Walmart Sustainable Packaging Position Statement and Playbook.

In addition to identifying common opportunities for packaging improvement, the Walmart Sustainable Packaging Position Statement and Playbook provides best practices, additional guidance and resources for each of these areas. Establishing a packaging commitment will be unique for each company. However, the below may be helpful as you evaluate your current status and develop plans for improvement:

  • If You've "Right Sized" Packaging: Increase the recycability of your packaging.
  • If You Have Recyclable Packaging: Use a consumer friendly recycling label on your packaging - such as the How2Recycle® label.
  • If You Have A Consumer Friendly Recycling Label On Your Packaging: Increase the use of sustainability sourced materials.
  • If You Have Sustainably Sourced Materials: Collaborate with others to improve infrastructure for recycling.

If you're interested in addressing the recyclability of your packaging and/or integrating recycled content, the information in Walmart's Recycling Playbook may be able to help. The Walmart Recycling Playbook is presented by packaging format (i.e., PET bottle, HDPE bottle, etc.) and is focused on the most common packaging formats found in Walmart stores. For each major packaging format, we have provided information designed to inform on the recyclability of particular design elements based on existing infrastructure. Walmart encourages all suppliers to take a lifecycle perspective when seeking to optimize package design, and to consider using consumer-friendly recycling labels, like the How2Recycle® label for customer education.

If you’d like to work to optimize design and source sustainably for your packaging, tools such as the COMPASS (Comparative Packaging Assessment) tool may help to evaluate the greenhouse gas impact of common changes such as:

  • Reducing packaging weight without sacrificing protection (optimizing design)
  • Improving cube efficiency to reduce transport impacts (optimizing design)
  • Increasing the use of postconsumer recycled content (sourcing sustainably)
  • Replacing fossil-based plastics with bio-based plastics (sourcing sustainably)

Are your goal(s) SMART — Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Relevant & Time limited? Watch this video to learn how to set formal, specific goals that lead to substantially better returns. In addition to being SMART, also consider whether your goals are ambitious enough to address the environmental challenges that we are facing globally.

Each year, you’ll be asked to submit data points to Walmart based on the Project Gigaton™ pillars you’ve joined (Energy, Waste, etc.). For every pillar you report to, you’ll be asked to submit the impact of improvements you’ve achieved in the reporting year. There are three options for submitting data to Project Gigaton™ reporting:

Option 1: For companies that need help calculating the greenhouse gas impact of their initiatives, let the Project Gigaton™ Calculators help! These calculators are available to help you report your progress during the annual Project Gigaton™ reporting period. They may also help you identify and estimate the emissions impact of future Project Gigaton™ goals.

Option 2: If your company already reports to the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire each year, your disclosure can be leveraged to report emissions reductions to Project Gigaton™. To report to Project Gigaton™ using your CDP disclosure, you must grant permission through your company’s Project Gigaton™ account for Walmart to use your CDP data and all CC4.3b fields must be completed in your CDP disclosure. If you haven’t received a request to disclose to CDP but would like to volunteer to do so, or have questions about disclosure, please contact respond@cdp.net.

Option 3: For companies that do not use the Project Gigaton™ Calculators or report their emissions reductions to the CDP Climate Change Questionnaire each year, you can still report your already calculated aggregate greenhouse gas emissions reductions to Project Gigaton™.

For additional questions about Project Gigaton™, refer to our FAQs.

Need a deep dive into calculating emissions? Check out our Project Gigaton™ Accounting Methodology.