From Shelves to Streets: Examining the Role of Retailers in Litter Pollution

BREVARD COUNTY, FL., July 3, 2023 - There is a concerning issue with Walmart, a multinational retail chain, regarding the excessive amount of litter that accumulates around its stores. This litter can be found in nearby woods, water streams, and parking lots, despite repeated complaints to the corporate office by zero waste activist Elizabeth Baker. She has spent the last 30 days gathering photo and video evidence, but the company has not acted to clean up the mess.

Citizens are not permitted to pick up litter on Walmart properties due to the risk of being trespassed. There have been instances where Walmart security has intervened, asking people to leave the premises when cleaning up litter. This has occurred in various locations throughout the country. 

The areas around Walmart stores are filled with debris from the store, damaging the natural environment. Baker notes that there are price tags stuck in the ground, plastic bags tangled in bushes, plastic that has been mowed over, dirty diapers, food containers hidden in overgrown weeds, and trash scattered throughout the parking lots. Sadly, it's common for individuals to overlook the potential consequences of littering and fail to consider where it may end up. 

Many customers and communities worldwide are concerned about the garbage accumulating on the roads and creeks near Walmart buildings. To be better stewards of the environment, store officials should take simple measures such as providing additional trash cans and ensuring employees are trained to pick up and curb the litter problem.

Like numerous other industries, Walmart significantly tries to improve its environmental image. They claim to take sustainability measures by working with their suppliers, conducting innovative consumer behavior experiments, and introducing products that cater to environmentally conscious customers. Stores are aware of the growing environmental consciousness among consumers, who increasingly use their purchasing power to demand greater eco-friendliness from businesses. However, the reality is that most of these industries are more concerned with greenwashing and projecting a false image of environmental responsibility rather than actually taking concrete steps to minimize their environmental impact. A notable example of this is Walmart, which has yet to address its litter problem.

Some of the most common littered items include cigarette butts, food packaging, vehicle debris, plastic bags, and construction waste. As litter degrades, chemicals and microparticles are released. These chemicals can enter the soil and freshwater sources, negatively impacting water quality, wildlife, and humans. 60% of water pollution is attributed to litter.

To address its litter problem, Walmart could take several steps, such as increasing the number of trash cans, hiring maintenance crews to clean up regularly, posting educational signs about environmental issues, and organizing cleanups. However, Walmart has yet to make a public commitment to address this issue. Would you consider contacting them to urge them to take action?

RE: Citizens Requesting that Walmart Take Action to Stop Littering

Dear Walton Family,

It is a sad reality that plastic pollution is leading to the death of many animals each day. Fishermen have discovered plastic inside fish, clinging to turtles, and wrapped around dolphins due to plastic not decomposing quickly. This poses a significant threat to our environment, and it's not something we can ignore and hope it goes away. We must take action to reduce plastic litter, and Walmart can play a vital role in this. I urge your corporation to commit to consistently picking up trash and spreading awareness about the importance of maintaining a clean environment to keep our surroundings safe for all living beings.


Contact your nearest Walmart:  

Walmart Headquarters Contact Information: 
  • Walmart Headquarters 702 S.W. 8th St. Bentonville, AK 72716
  • Walmart Corporate Phone Number: 1-479-273-4000
  • Walmart Email:
  • Twitter ID: @Walmart

Additional Reading & Sources: 

  • "Pick it Up: A Look at Littering," book available at Walmart: 
  • Maine man being forced to leave:
  • Link to story:
  • Link to story:
  • 60% of water pollution: 

The Advocates Voice

An online publication launched to elevate the voices of advocates throughout the United States.

Post a Comment

Previous Post Next Post

Contact Form