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    Wal-Mart Commits to Cutting Global Plastic Bag Waste by a Third by 2013

    The initiative could reduce energy consumption by approximately 678,000 barrels of oil per year, the retailer said.

    Wal-Mart Stores, Inc. committed Thursday to reduce its global plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33 percent per store by 2013. The move is expected to eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste globally.

    To accomplish this goal, Wal-Mart will reduce the number of bags given out at its stores, encourage the use of reusable bags and give customers the means to continue recycling plastic shopping bags.

    The Environmental Defense Fund helped Wal-Mart develop its bag reduce strategy. The giant retailer's commitment includes a 25 percent reduction in plastic bag waste from U.S. stores and a 50 percent reduction from its international operations.

    In other news, Wal-Mart Stores Thursday unveiled a new Brazilian e-commerce Web site. The site is part of the chain's aggressive expansion strategy in Latin America's largest country. The giant retailer is spending millions of dollars in Brazil, and garnering sales growth at more than twice the pace in the United States.

    Wal-Mart spent $13.67 million to develop its Brazilian website, which will offer the lowest prices among online retailers in Brazil, according to company officials. E-commerce has been growing more than 30 percent annually in Brazil in recent years.

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