Retailers Raise the Bar for Earth-Friendly Products

Bi-Lo is continually expanding its environmental efforts. So far, the Mauldin, S.C.-based retailer has established a reusable bag program and now offers plastic-bag and cardboard recycling at most of its store locations. The chain also has an INKredible ink cartridge refill program. We also carry a large variety of earth-friendly products at our stores, ranging from New Southern Home Supreme Clean

Bi-Lo is continually expanding its environmental efforts. So far, the Mauldin, S.C.-based retailer has established a reusable bag program and now offers plastic-bag and cardboard recycling at most of its store locations. The chain also has an INKredible ink cartridge refill program.

“We also carry a large variety of earth-friendly products at our stores, ranging from New Southern Home Supreme Clean 2X Laundry Detergent to cat litters made from newspaper, wheat or pine instead of mined clay,” said Mike Hoffman, category merchandiser for the chain.

Wal-Mart has an impressive environmental campaign, too, said Don Stuart, managing director, Cannondale Associates, Wilton, Conn.

“They offer environmentally friendly products, and they are on top of sustainability, tracing products all the way back to the source,” said Stuart. “Wild Oats and Whole Foods are two supermarket chains positioned well to follow suit. But traditional retailers are starting to move on this quickly, too.”

Wal-Mart has certainly helped raise consumer awareness. The mass merchant recently ran an in-depth promotional campaign tied to Earth Day. Products highlighted during the event ran the gamut from Clorox's Green Works natural cleaning concoctions and Parent's Choice biodegradable organic baby wipes to T-shirts made from transitional cotton, Sam's Choice fair trade coffee and music CDs packaged in 100% recyclable and biodegradable materials.

Slogans like “You X 200 million = A brighter future” and “Save Money. Live Better” dotted the pages of the big-box chain's eight-page Sunday paper insert. The retailer even included information about what makes each of the sale products green.

Kellogg's Special K breakfast/snack bars, for instance, are packaged using 11% less material. And Bonnie Plants tomato plants come in biodegradable pots that break down in the ground after planting.

Other items included in the promotion were Dutch Boy paints made with fewer volatile organic compounds, EcoRest pet beds made from recycled plastic and EPA Energy Star-recommended Phillips Surge Protector outlet strips.
— KG