Southern California environment news and trends

Walmart introduces new "Great For You" healthy food label

Walmart Stores/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

Long one of America’s most controversial retailers, Walmart continues it’s aggressive charge to being a more responsible one with the launch of new labels clearly identifying healthier food choices for shoppers.

Starting this spring, the bright green “Great For You” label will appear on Walmart house brands Great Value and Marketside, as well as fresh and packaged produce.

“Walmart moms are telling us they want to make healthier choices for their families, but need help deciphering all the claims and information already displayed on products,” explained Andrea Thomas, the senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart in a press release. “Our ‘Great For You’ icon provides customers with an easy way to quickly identify healthier food choices. As they continue to balance busy schedules and tight budgets, this simple tool encourages families to have a healthier diet.”

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Electric Avenue: Stanford team wants to recharge your car while you drive

MARK RALSTON/AFP/Getty Images

For the environmentally  (as well as financially) conscious driver, electric cars are the only way to cruise. With California stressing greener cars and automakers making a concerted effort to bring more affordable electric vehicles to the public, the need for basics like charging stations are increasingly paramount. Even big retailers like Ikea and Walmart are getting onboard by adding said stations to their stores (the easier to shop inside, of course).

Now researchers at Stanford are working on a progressive system that would all but eliminate the need for charging stations by literally electrifying the roads we drive on. Using technology known as magnetic resonance coupling, the general idea is that metal coils would be placed in the actual freeway itself, creating a wireless transfer system that could literally charge an electric car’s battery as it drives.

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Intel Corp is America’s biggest green power consumer, but Walmart is coming up fast

K.Costin Photography/flickr (cc by-nc-sa)

The Environmental Protection Agency has released the latest updates on America’s biggest consumers of green power, and computer chip producer Intel Corp comes in at Number 1.

A full 88% of the electricity consumed by Intel is green, purchased from wind and solar farms. All told, they ate up more than 2.5 billion kilowatt hours of both over last year.

Kohl’s, Walmart, Whole Foods Markets and Johnson & Johnson round out the top 5, with Walmart moving from 15th to 3rd place on the strength of their green power purchases in California and Texas alone (and pushing Whole Foods down to fourth place).

Walmart has plans to add solar panels to another 130 California stores by the end of 2013, so expect their ranking to move in higher in the following years.

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Walmart goes green with new sustainable website

Tim Boyle/Getty Images

Whether it’s your dirty little early morning secret to save a few bucks when nobody’s looking, the place you proudly shop to take advantage of those notoriously deep discounts or somewhere in between, everybody seems to have an opinion (and a rather strong one at that) about Walmart. It’s usually not very positive, considering websites like “People of Walmart” or the PR nightmare that results when an idiot customer decides to pepper-spray the place for a waffle iron. Obviously, the real people of Walmart who run the company are well of their public perception, and they’re ready to change it.

Leading with the mission statement: “Together, we will create a more sustainable world to help people live better”, Walmart has launched a new blog called “The Green Room” to start an open dialogue with those “who want to share ideas and partner with us in helping people live better lives around the world”.

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