"Green" Walmart Has Decorative Moldings Made From "The Leg Holes In Disposable Diapers"

The Chicago Tribune is reporting that the first of Walmart’s new “high efficiency” stores is slated to open Jan 23, in Romeoville, IL. It’s part of Walmart’s super awesome PR-tastic, yet characteristically stingy plan to make its stores 25 to 30 percent more energy efficient by 2009.

To that end, the store features “decorative floor boards and moldings are made from the material leftover from making the leg holes in disposable diapers.”

Yes, really. We weren’t aware that producing “leg holes” resulted in a lot of waste, but we sure are happy to hear that it’s being put to good use. Here are some other features of a “green” Walmart:

  • The exposed concrete floor made of waste left over from coal operations
  • A new system for keeping refrigerated food cold that lowers the use of refrigerant by 90 percent and in turn reduces greenhouse gas emissions
  • Motion-sensitive light-emitting diodes (LED) in refrigerator and freezer cases
  • Doors in the meat and dairy refrigerated sections instead of open refrigerator shelves
  • 200 skylights that allow electric lights to go down when the sun comes out

Wal-Mart aims for a green look in Romeoville [Chicago Tribune]
(Photo:handh07)

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  1. kittenfoo says:

    i’m always ragging on wal-mart even though i have to go there since my freelancer’s salary doesn’t allow much else. i guess this makes me feel marginally better to know that waste products are getting used and they’ll take advantage of freebies like sunshine.

  2. Tux the Penguin says:

    @kittenfoo: True, but my real question is are they doing this because its “green” or are they saving money in the process? Just thinking of the skylights, how much money does that save Walmart every month? And how quickly do they recoup the extra cost of putting in those skylights (if it even is demonstrably higher!)?

  3. joeblevins says:

    Actually TUX, I think it is very cheesy to try to be green for the sake of green.

    In order for ‘green’ to succeed, it has to be the most economic pathway. If Green pays, then Green will win. We can’t all pay 10x more for Solar like you would be willing to.

  4. Sam says:

    @Tux the Penguin: What’s the problem with Wal-Mart saving money? The end result is the same — the footprint of the store is reduced. As Joeblevins said above, greenliness will never catch on with businesses unless it makes business sense. Luckily, it often does.

  5. mopar_man says:

    @kittenfoo:

    My wife and I are a single-income family and we do just fine without going to Wal-Mart.

    @Tux the Penguin:

    There’s no reason to question it. Wal-Mart is all about making money.

  6. Sam says:

    @Sam: Besides, in the long term it’s actually better for businesses to do this because of the economic advantage than “because it’s green.” This whole “green” movement may just be a fad — that is, businesses who go green just because they think it’s nicer or to appeal to the green-minded public may revert to their old ways after the green mania dies down. Economic advantage, on the other hand, will always hold true.

  7. iguanoid says:

    Now they know how many holes it takes to fill the Walmart wall.

  8. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @Sam: Exactly. Its the same reason we are seeing more hybrid cars on the market, better lightbulbs and a myriad of “greener” lifestyle products. Customers showed a willingness to purchase them, companies can now make a profit on them, and thus the market goes green

  9. snoop-blog says:

    who cares what the motivation is for going green. it’s still better than wasting energy. how could any disagree with that?

  10. kimsama says:

    @Sam: Right on.

    @mopar_man: Apples to oranges. Don’t be hard on kittenfoo, freelance money is not like a salary — you pay way more taxes (SE tax, the bane of all freelancers) and it’s uneven at best, and you don’t have employer-covered benefits. While it’s admirable that you don’t have to shop at Walmart, not everyone can avoid it.

  11. iguanoid says:

    @Kimsama Agreed. My in-laws live in a small town and they would love to avoid Walmart…but there is no where else to go without enduring a road trip.

    Re: Green products. Since a good portion of these products were rushed to market I wonder how green they really are when they will all end up in the dump when fashions and technologies change.

  12. nffcnnr says:

    Sounds more like a “brown” Wal-Mart to me.

  13. DallasDMD says:

    @snoop-blog: People would rather have the illusion of “freedom” than have to sacrifice their ‘right’ to consume, pollute, and destroy their living space.

  14. DallasDMD says:

    This is what I think about these superficial attempts at helping the environment: [vhemt.org]

  15. Tracy Ham and Eggs says:

    @DallasDMD: No question that if people consume MORE because its green then it negates any benefit, but thats not the case. If I replace my lightbulbs with CFL, and use the same number of lights, then my consumption goes down. If everyone does the same then guess what, national energy usage goes down.

  16. floydianslip6 says:

    @iguanoid: They’d love to turn you on….

  17. il1lupo1970 says:

    i live in a town with a new wal-mart with these energy saving things. it’s pretty interesting.

    on a bright, sunny day, light comes through the skylights. in response, the lighting fixtures dim. you don’t really notice it unless you’re looking straight up at the fixtures.

    also, all of the lights in the frozen food cases are off. when you walk up to one of the doors, the light turns on… and when you walk away, it turns off.

  18. topgun says:

    I think it’s great. If people realize saving money in the process is all part of “Going Green”, then it becomes more viable. I was stunned to find out that the government budget for alternate energy research is only $4 billion
    (don’t jump on me for saying “only” $4billion and make that a whole new issue). I try to be as green as possible at home, and my first consideration is saving $. I’m trying to buy a business myself. One positive in getting the loan is that an investment of about $1,000 will result in about a 20% savings on electricity. The electric part of the utility bill is about $200 month, so the savings are going to add up quickly.

  19. Sam says:

    @Sam: Besides, in the long term it’s actually better for businesses to do this because of the economic advantage than “because it’s green.” This whole “green” movement may just be a fad; that is, businesses who go green just because they think it’s nicer or to appeal to the green-minded public may revert to their old ways after the green mania dies down. Economic advantage, on the other hand, will always hold true.

  20. iguanoid says:

    okay can’t resist…

    I always knew Wal-mart was a crap-hole.

  21. smoothtom says:

    @joeblevins: Oh, being green is always going to be the more economically viable solution. The question is when it will pay off. Up front, being a wasteful, inefficient idiot might save you a few bucks … but down the road the “green” (damn, I’m getting sick of that word, and I wholeheartedly believe in the concept’s importance) solution is the one that will be least costly.

  22. kimsama says:

    @Sam: I’ve heard that before ^_^

  23. IrisMR says:

    Being green is the new fad.

    I guess it will go away eventually like the fad where everyone gave money for hungry africans and where everyone wanted to save the rainforest.

  24. DallasDMD says:

    @Tracy Ham and Eggs: Agreed. It is just that the problems we will be facing down the road will require much more radical solutions than merely switching to CFLs and driving hybrids. There is nothing wrong with doing things in your personal life to decrease the pain you are putting on the environment.

  25. Rando says:

    “Motion-sensitive light-emitting diodes (LED) in refrigerator and freezer cases”

    These were great until a few months after a new walmart around here opened. They stopped working for the most part…lol

  26. Shadowman615 says:

    WTF are they talking about? Leg holes? Have you ever looked at a disposable diaper? There aren’t really any leg holes; it’s sort of a rectangular/bowtie shape before it’s folded.

  27. snoop-blog says:

    HERE YOU GO WAL-MART: this goes to show there is nothing you can do right! why give a crap about what people think (they’ll still shop there) when even if you attempt to do some good, people will just find bad in it. i bet every mo-fo on here has shopped at a wal-mart at least once, and i personally love their low prices, and have never had a “bad experience”. and considering that i live closer to the super wal-mart, than anything else, that is my local grocery store, so out of thousands of times shopping and zero bad experience, i’ll continue to shop there, weather its green, brown, yellow, or asian, whoops…..i mean to me if they can go green, more power to them.

  28. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    Um, the diapers have to be cut into that shape? They don’t come off of a plastic diaper tree in that shape.

  29. rachaeljean says:

    I think this is a great move on Wal-Mart’s part. It doesn’t really matter what thier motivation is, the bottom line is they’re using less energy which rocks. If people want to fall for their green-marketing, more power to them.

    The Wal-Mart by my house, which I’ve defended from Consumerist comments before, already has all the skylights. It makes a massive difference… it is so light and airy in there during the day. Kudos to them.

  30. johng333 says:

    This is not about Walmart embracing “green” nor is it really about Walmart saving money. Walmart considers this an advertising “expense”.

    Pay no attention to the fact that Walmart buy the majority of its products from China, don’t worry about Walmart’s issues with the labor industry, don’t think about the almost sweat shop like mentality that Walmart uses, don’t dig into the lobbying efforts Walmart is undertaking to reduce restricition on everything from pollution, unfair business practices, import regulations.

    None of that is important. Walmart slapped some solar pannels on a store, used some recyled material, and they “plan” on doing it on a whopping 20 – 30 stores by 2009. Yes that is only 1% of their entire store population, yes these buildings don’t meet the true definition of sustainability, yes this only about advertising and results in energy savings of .01% of Walmarts entire energy utilzation.

    But hey they are being “green” right? That savings will be passed down to the consumer right? From some of the comments it seems that their advertising is working. This “green” hype is seems to passifying the sheep..errr. consumers.

  31. johng333 says:

    I love the notion that they are doing “some” good and deserve credit. Russia built some new roads when they invaded Afghanistan in the 80′s, of course that was for their tanks to get around, but hey they did some good. For crying out loud why can’t people give Russia credit for trying?

    Because their motivation, goal, and the full effect of the results far outweighs the outcome. While I might save gas if I took short cuts using sidewalk and cutting across private lawns I doubt I woud get “credit” for my efforts in trying to save gas.

    Look at what an organization has done historically, what their goals are, and where they are headed in the future. Dismiss the window dressing of marketing efforts dressed up to look like they are concerned partners in our community.

    When you look at Walmart in total they get a great big F. So no, an F+ does not mean we should give them a standing ovation. We should should say we see through the sham you are pulling and until you put forth a real effort I am taking my business to a company that provides value and can make a profit while operating fairly and in a responsible manner. Yes, there are major retailers that get much better grades than Walmart.

  32. j-damn says:

    @il1lupo1970:
    On a sunny day the lights dim due to the skylights? Wonder how much more they will end up paying in cooling costs?

    Also, in regards to a frozen-food section–there should also be an electrocution setup for people who hold the damn door open while they look at the food. It wastes energy and frosts up the glass…you know, the glass that is there SO YOU CAN LOOK THROUGH IT rather than opening the door and standing there like a moron deciding which delicious flavor of pot pie you want.

  33. @mopar_man:

    Anyone who thinks the prices are enough to matter, dont read price tags and just listen to marketing.

    Wal-Mart just isn’t any cheaper.

  34. rjhiggins says:

    @j-damn: “On a sunny day the lights dim due to the skylights? Wonder how much more they will end up paying in cooling costs?”

    Huh? What does dimming the lights (thus using less electricity) have to do with increased cooling costs?

  35. boxjockey68 says:

    @mopar_man: I agree, we are a family of 3 we never set foot into walmart, we feel the risks associated with the cheap products are not worth the few cents we might save. Clip coupons & watch for sales..there’s no need for walmart.

  36. boxjockey68 says:

    @johng333: I didn’t see this post right away, you have said it all perfectly. Well done.

  37. willfe says:

    @Johng333: Oh, you poor, misguided soul.

    People aren’t ignoring the complaints against Wal-Mart because it’s “convenient,” they’re ignoring many of them because they’re ridiculous and overblown. The company pays its employees *more* than minimum wage. The company integrates “green” improvements into its *new* stores (what the hell do you expect them to do, spend billions to retrofit each of their thousands of stores around the world with improvements that won’t ever repay the expense of installing them?).

    When they screw up and get caught, they pay up. They do so because they can afford to. They can afford to because they’re good at what they do.

    Your rant seems more generally “anti-corporation” than specifically “anti-Walmart.” Any corporation’s main goal is to make more money than it spends. Sell products and services, obtained/provided at the lowest possible cost, to as many people as possible at as high a price as possible. Avoid breaking the law, or at least avoid getting caught breaking the law. That’s how *any* company operates — why the hell does this actually surprise or offend you? It’s how most *people* operate, too.

    You do understand that from a slightly less cynical viewpoint, this could be a very frustrating development. They build something that will save them money, consume less electricity, and recycle more waste than before, and *people are still bitching*. This company is now so large that it can’t do *anything* without complaining. They could announce tomorrow “every customer who walks in our doors on January 31, 2008 will get $1,000, no questions asked!” and people like you would still bitch about it.

    So what do they do instead of trying to please everybody? They try to keep the people who shop there reasonably happy so they’ll keep shopping there, which will keep the shareholders happy. Ignoring whiners like you is standard practice for them, and I applaud them for it. :)

  38. emjsea says:

    Wow. No matter what Wal-Mart does it’s not good enough for the elitist hipster New Yorker’s at The Consumerist.

    Wal-Mart is great. I buy things like packaged food, batteries, underwear, etc. I wouldn’t buy furniture or their other cheap stuff, but that’s just my choice. But then being a hipster doofus asshole is never about making your own choices.

    In short they are doing a lot more than many companies.

  39. timsgm1418 says:

    oh man that was bad..@iguanoid:

  40. KiLE says:

    There are reasons why people hate walmart and it has nothing to do with being hip. They can be far more ruthless than any other company. Walmart is still the company that took lower income employees and locked them in the store at night to clean up, they skimp on under paid employees paychecks, discriminate against women, and when that’s not enough, they sue to keep injured employee wages.

    On the flip side, kudos to the green movement being so economical that even Walmart sees the benefit of going green. This article makes me happy but people still have very valid reasons for hating walmart.

  41. KiLE says:

    And ditto to everything JOHNG333 says.

  42. Mrs. Stephen Fry says:

    Oh, my God, what would you people do with your time if you didn’t bitch about Wal-Mart?

    They are ahead of the retailer pack in making themselves more green. They are doing research on ways to be more green and sharing it with other retailers. I think it is a step in the right direction.

  43. snoop-blog says:

    @MonkeySeeMonkeyDo: eaxactly.

    if any retailer told you they didn’t want to be as big as wal-mart would be lying.

    and the prices are significantly cheaper on certain items by up to %50 at wal-mart. its plain and simple, wal-mart is able to buy huge bulk, so it becomes cheaper to the public.

    totino’s pizza @ kmart: $1.50
    totino’s pizza @ wal-mart $.99

    but i wouldn’t expect any of you silver spoon fed people to understand how it is to really be that broke where .50 here and .50 there can really make or break how many meals your able to have.

  44. Leigh1 says:

    I work for a large hotel working to ‘go green,’ and let me tell you, I’m not sure I see the economic advantage some of you mention. Do you have any idea what all goes in to committing to this initiative? It is actually quite costly to entirely change current practices & processes, purchasing (recycled/green products are still more expensive), training and implementing so many environmental initiatives. As for Walmart…if they are seeing an economic advantage to this green effort and the consumers don’t – who cares?! It is a business. Isn’t the point of a business to provide a product and service and make money? Besides that, no one should be ridiculed for positively impacting our environment. If they happen to get some free PR out of it – all the more power to them.

    • Kuri says:

      Well if you’re only looking at short term gains then probably. Fact is a lot of that pays for itself in time.

      The main problem being that we live in a society where if changes don’t occur withing a week, we assume it’s not working perdio.