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The Wall Street Journal reports on the progress being made by Wal-Mart with its so-called green initiatives: “The company expects to reduce solid waste 25% in three years at almost 4,000 U.S. stores.”

The trick, according to the Journal, was to get the initiatives to be embraced by executives who “spent their careers slashing costs, not pursuing social goals..” And the way that CEO Lee Scott found to these executives’ hearts was to convince them that there was money to be made in being environmentally conscious.

“Wal-Mart's recycling initiatives thus far aren't close to recouping the company's $500 million investment, but a number are profitable on an individual basis,” the WSJ writes. “For instance, in the past few months, the company installed a contraption called a sandwich baler in its retail stores and distribution centers to collect and recycle the plastic used in shrink wrap and shopping bags that up to now was thrown out and hauled away. Now Wal-Mart sells it to recyclers. The company expects the program to add $28 million to the company's bottom line, from saving on removal and landfill costs and from the money it gets for selling the plastic. From February through June, the company recycled more than 16 million pounds of plastic.”

As David Redfield, vice president of marketing integration at the company's Sam's Club division, tells the Journal, "At first we thought this was about saving the whales and the trees. Then we started looking seriously at what the waste was made of, what it cost us and what we could save, and this thing took on a life of its own."
KC's View:
There’s the old line that goes something like, you can do well by doing good.