Packaging plays an important role in protecting and delivering quality products to our customers. How can we best design a package to reduce associated greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions?

In most cases, packaging is simply a means to transport a product. Once the end user has removed the product packaging it becomes waste. By optimizing design, sourcing sustainably and supporting recycling in packaging, the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions will be achieved through reduced weight in transportation and waste. Designers, manufacturers and brands have a unique opportunity to help deliver more efficient and innovative packaging to shelf.

Resources

How to Join


Making the packaging that your customer knows and loves more recyclable is a clear way to lower emissions. To join the Packaging pillar of Project Gigaton, your company can choose to set a goal specific to any or all of these areas: 1) optimize design, 2) source sustainably or 3) support recycling.

For example, you could submit a goal to:

  • Design for recyclability for 50 percent of packaging by 2025.
  • Lessen the weight of your packaging by 10 percent by 2020.
  • Switch from glass to plastic for packaging by 2021.
  • Increase use of recycled content or bio-based materials by 15 percent by 2030.
  • Switch from corrugate containers to reusable packaging containers (RPCs) to reduce damages by 20 percent by 2019.

The above goals are illustrative examples only and by no means the only goal style that could be submitted as part of Project Gigaton – you’ll need to determine the scope, timeline and type of goal that makes sense for your company and products. After submitting a goal using the button below, you’ll be asked to report on your progress annually so the impact can be recognized and attributed toward the Project Gigaton reduction target.

Practical guidance on setting a packaging target

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 graphic may be helpful as you evaluate your current status and develop plans for improvement:

What will you report each year and how will it be converted to GHGs?

Each year, you’ll be asked to submit data points to Walmart based on the Project Gigaton pillars you’ve joined (Energy, Waste, Agriculture, etc.). For Packaging, you’ll be asked to submit the greenhouse gas impact of packaging improvements you’ve achieved in a given calendar year. To calculate the greenhouse gas reductions associated with packaging improvements and determine your input for Project Gigaton reporting, you can use the COMPASS tool or EPA WARM model:

1. If you’ve worked to optimize design and source sustainably, consider using the COMPASS (Comparative Packaging Assessment) tool to evaluate the greenhouse gas impact of these changes. For example, COMPASS can evaluate the impact of:

  • 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)

2. If you’ve worked to support recycling through use of the How2Recycle label or other initiatives, consider using the EPA Waste Reduction Model (WARM) to evaluate the greenhouse gas impact of these changes.

To avoid double counting:

  • Your company can submit either recyclable or recycled content greenhouse gas reductions toward Project Gigaton. In general, we encourage companies to work on both increasing the recyclable and recycled content in packaging.
  • Recycled fiber content associated with the product design (e.g., tissue, paper towel) should be reported through the Deforestation Pillar.
  • Recycled fiber content associated with paper packaging should be reported in the Packaging Pillar.

If you believe you have an alternative methodology that should be used to calculate the greenhouse gas impact of packaging changes for Project Gigaton, which isn’t covered by the EPA WARM model or COMPASS tool, please tell us about it by emailing corpsu@wal-mart.com.

For additional information about Project Gigaton, refer to the Frequently Asked Questions.

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