Wal-Mart has committed to slashing its plastic waste by a third by 2013 and will radically reduce the number of carrier bags it hands out.

“By reducing the number of bags our customers use, increasing the availability and affordability of reusable bags and providing recycling solutions, we think that we can eliminate plastic waste equivalent to nine billion plastic bags per year from our existing stores alone,” said Matt Kistler, senior vice president for sustainability of Wal-Mart Stores.

In the US, Wal-Mart will offer reusable bags beginning in October for 50c (28p) each. Wal-Mart said its efforts could reduce energy consumption by approximately 678,000 barrels of oil per year and reduce carbon dioxide emissions by 290,000 tonnes per year – equivalent to taking more than 53,000 passenger vehicles off the road annually.

“If we can encourage consumers to change their behaviour, just one bag at a time, we believe real progress can be made towards the goal of creating zero waste, said Kistles.

After six decades, Wegmans is going back to its roots by reverting to a logo harking back to the 1930s. The logo will change from block lettering, first introduced in the 1970s, to an italicised script.

“When we looked back at some of our earliest logos, they conveyed the warmth and personal attention to detail that we hope reflects our brand,” said president Colleen Wegman. “The family culture in our company continues to grow.”

The transition will be gradual, starting with things that are simple to change such as bags and packaging. However, other features such as storefront signs, for example, may not be replaced for a considerable time because of the cost.

Carrefour has seen its dairy sales in China fall by 50% after government tests showed chemical tainting of milk products. According to reports, after an initial dramatic fall, sales have started to recover in the past week and may be back to normal in about a month, according to Eric Legros, Carrefour’s managing director for China. Dairy products account for about 1% of the Carrefour’s total revenue in China.

“The most important thing we need now is to be rational because without being rational you have panic and panic is no good for anyone,” Legros said.

China pulled more than 7,000 tonnes of dairy products from shops after they were found to be tainted with melamine, typically used to make plastics. Contaminated milk formula has so far killed four babies. Chinese authorities have said they have begun a crackdown on lax regulations affecting companies. The authorities said they would overhaul the dairy industry, establishing strict quality standards with enforced supervision.