NEW YORK Wal-Mart Stores is taking the motto “waste-not, want-not” to the next level by selling only concentrated products in its liquid laundry detergent category, the company said Wednesday.
Wal-Mart expects to sell only concentrated detergent in all of its U.S. stores by early May 2008, which will be more than 800 million units over the next three years. The transition will occur in waves beginning in the Southern region in October, extending to the North and Midwest by February and finishing in East coast states in April 2008.
“People expect businesses to step up and work together to help solve the big challenges facing the world,” president and chief executive officer Lee Scott said at a conference on Wednesday. “What we have done is work with suppliers to take water—one of our most precious natural resources—out of the liquid laundry detergent on our shelves. We simply don’t want our customers to have to choose between a product they can afford and an environmentally friendly product.”
This new initiative is said to save more than 400 million gallons of water, more than 95 million pounds of plastic resin and more than 125 million pounds of cardboard. According to the company, approximately 25% of the liquid laundry detergent is sold through Wal-Mart stores in the United States. The company also hopes that the potential savings in natural resources through the entire retail industry will be four times as much.
In 2005, Wal-Mart initiated a partnership with Unilever to dramatically reduce the packaging of its “All” detergent. In February 2006, Unilever unveiled “All small-and-mighty,” which is three-times concentrated, and contains enough detergent to wash the same 32 loads as a 100-oz. bottle. Wal-Mart helped bring the product to market by promising equal or greater shelf space despite the smaller product size.