Wal-mart… Helping to “green” the planet?

I have to admit… I'm not a big Wal-mart shopper.  I try to stay away from big, bargain-y, corporate stores (I'm currently working on weening myself off of Target – which is harder than it looks).  Anyway, I couldn't even tell you if I have a local Walmart, but I digress.  I am very interested in businesses that work to help the planet's condition – as I run one myself – and I remember reading a couple of years back (in The Wal-mart Effect by Charles Fishman. I didn't read the whole book, just excerpts.) that by accident Wal-mart had made one of the most influential "green" business decisions of the 1990's.  You see, in the mid 90s, one of the corporate big brains over at Wal-mart had decided to do away with deodorant boxes.  Remember those… pretty much every mainstream deodorant roller came in a glossy cardboard box!  Well Wal-mart realized they could cut costs & merchandise more by doing away with said boxes.  Their high level corporate greed/good business sense ending up saving a little bit of our planet.  As Fisher says, "Millions of trees were not cut down, acres of cardboard were not manufactured only to be discarded, 1 billion deodorant boxes didn't end up in landfills each year."  Well, good for them I thought… but as I considered them to be doing so much other "bad", I made note & moved on.

Let's move forward over a decade to the present, shall we?  I'm reading a favorite blog of mine, Green your Decor, just the other day and she's talking about all of this lovely, FSC-certified wood  patio furniture and recycled glass tableware that she just bought at Wal-mart. Um… what?  So, I check out her selections and they're not bad… not mind-blowing, but decent-looking basics that could definitely work as core pieces in a stellar outdoor situation.


Ok, then I go to Walmart.com and head for the "search" function (This is a common practice of mine. I often go to"big" websites – from Target to Neiman Marcus – and search the words "recycled", "organic", "bamboo", you get the idea).  Let me 1st say, searching their site for the word "organic" proved to be confusing. It brings up a whole "shop earth-friendly" page riddled with ads for Clorox's new "green" campaign & whatever "helpful" thing Tide detergent might be doing right now, but once you carefully sift through their kind of overzealous propoganda… you can find some decent items.  And whether Wal-mart is doing this a a marketing ploy and not because they love the planet the way we do (which I am convinced is the case), the bottom line is they are bringing sustainable goods to a major market that probably wasn't looking for them.  It's got to end up doing some good, right?  But as always, please be mindful of where your products are made – and the conditions in which the people who make your favorite goodies work.

Final note… If you do decide to peruse Wal-mart's website, check out their "Earth month" contest for the greatest "green" idea.  I love the junk mail into toilet paper (but why not just cut out the junk mail?)

Learn more about Deana at

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