As the world's largest retailer, Walmart generates a lot of recyclable waste. So instead of sending it all to recycling plants, the retail giant has decided to divert some of it to Worldwise, a sustainable pet products company. Worldwise will take Walmart's waste for free —including bottles, hangers, bags, and corrugated cardboard— and convert it into dog beds, cat litter pans, scoops, scratchers, and litter liners.
Worldwise's upcycled waste products, available in Walmart stores as of now, should have a big impact on Walmart's waste stream. According to Worldwise, PoochPlanet pet beds sold in the next year will reuse the equivalent of approximately 25,000,000 plastic bottles from Walmart and Sam's Clubs.
The company's packaging explains the closed-loop recycling process used in manufacturing, but Walmart isn't giving Worldwise any special recognition on store shelves—yet. "I don't know that any decisions will be made on that, but we don't have anything out there right now," says Walmart spokesman Kory Lundberg.
Worldwise is the first company to partner with Walmart for an upcycling project, but it won't be the last. Walmart sees the partnership as a pilot project that could lead to bigger things. "This is a great opportunity to see how this program works, see the benefits for Walmart, and see the benefits for the supplier," Lundberg says. "Then we can start having conversations with other suppliers."