Greening the Mainstream, One Big Box at a Time


Imagine you're going into a big box store. I know, a far fetched scenario for some of you reading, but play along with me here.

In them, there's usually that section: The seasonal one with Christmas lights in winter, beach balls in summer. You know the one. Now imagine if it had upcycled and eco-friendly products, displayed next to the product whose packaging was used to make that product. And it had information telling people all about this. An entire section, prominently placed, educating consumers and shifting people's minds about the ease of living more sustainably, and the part they could play in doing that.

Far fetched you say? A reality, right now, I say. In Walmart's Hot Spot section. A huge selection of what we create, right next to what we collect via our Brigades to make it. This month Walmarts across the country will have what they're calling Earth Zone. That a store of this size, reach, and impact is choosing to do this is huge. Say what you will about Walmart, but all our talk about becoming a greener society comes down to making it as easy as possible for people to see themselves doing it. Making it normal. Making it an enjoyable experience. Earth Zone does all of that.

Beyond Walmart, beyond TerraCycle, this excites me.

If this does well, Walmart will be open to doing it again. And other stores watching will do what they see working well. Imagine all big box stores having an eco section. Not just a smattering of recycled paper, a dash of CFL lights, and the occasional organic food, but a dedicated green goods section. When a large majority of US society shops in these types of stores, and they begin voting with their dollars, stores (and companies) will listen.

Let's not waste this opportunity. Go visit a Walmart. Tell them you appreciate having this section there. That you want more. Then actually buy something. Words work. So does money.

Readers: Where else are you seeing interesting, substantial intersections of mainstream culture with green business? Would you shop at Walmart, knowing they're making such efforts as these?
More on Wal-mart:
Wal-Mart's Sustainability Index: The Greenest Thing to Ever Happen to Retail?
Wal-Mart Reports Its Global Carbon Emissions in 2009 Sustainability Report
Wal-Mart's Sustainability Summit: Greenwash it was Not

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