One of the often forgotten elements of recycling is the need to make new products out of the material collected. For America's largest retailer, that material is going "to the dogs," so to speak.
Walmart will begin selling pet products such as dog beds and cat scratching posts in its stores this month. Made by Worldwise Inc., each product is made from recycled plastic bottles and hangers. The scratchers will also incorporate recycled cardboard.
"This program is the type of innovative thinking that will help Walmart reach its company wide goals for sustainability," said John Kunkel, senior buyer, Pets for Walmart. "We are committed to creating zero waste and the closed loop partnership with Worldwise is a perfect example of how retailers and suppliers can cooperate to innovate and achieve greater sustainability."
Walmart stores will also be supplying some of the plastic material, including 25 million plastic bottles according to Fast Company. Stores were previously sending this plastic to recycling facilities, collecting 120 million pounds in 2009 alone, but it will now be converted into the Worldwise fiberfill material EcoRest that adds padding to pet beds and toys.
WorldWise uses recycled cardboard for cat scratching posts because of its resemblance to tree bark, which also makes it compostable when the product is no longer in use.
Walmart will be selling a total of nine Worldwise products under the PoochPlanet and SmartKat brands.
This isn't the first time an American retail company has turned its own waste into new products. Starbucks locations in the Chicago area are collecting coffee cups to be recycled into Starbucks napkins.