In early January, Walmart rolled out a new blog, The Green Room, with its stated mission "Together, we will create a more sustainable world to help people live better." It is commendable that they are taking big steps to raise people's awareness about sustainability and move in this direction as a corporation.
One of their first blog entries is "The Resilience of Joplin", a Q&A with Mike Moore, a Joplin native who is President of Walmart Central. It is a moving account of the May 22 storm and its aftermath. What is noteworthy is the company's commitment to rebuild the store that was destroyed by the tornado in such an sustainable fashion. Here is an outtake from the interview:
Q: What’s the most compelling and environmentally friendly feature in the Joplin store?
A: We captured and recycled as much metal, wood, floor and ceiling tiles, concrete, asphalt and other materials, as possible. We crushed more than 17,000 tons of building and site concrete into aggregate and reused it as aggregate base under the slab, footings, pavement and in the utility trenches.
We also demolished in place the irrigation system and re-installed drip irrigation and smart controllers. We reutilized 60 percent of the existing storm lines, 80 percent of the sanitary sewer lines, and 60 percent of the existing water lines.
We are also the first store in Missouri to have energy-efficient LED lighting in the parking lot. The store itself includes energy-efficient technology so that we can reduce energy and water consumption and minimize waste. Our skylights harvest daylight and reduce the amount of energy required to light the store by as much as 75 percent daily. Our LED lighting operates 70 percent more efficiently than fluorescent lighting.
Our new store also has a recycling program with organic composting and will promote sustainable product purchases.
It is commendable that the company took the time and effort to recycle and re-use so much material that had been damaged by the tornado. After such an overwhelming life-changing event, it can seem easier to just clear away the rubble and begin anew.
Walmart invites you to be a part of the sustainability conversation at The Green Room.