Walmart has already succeeded in becoming one of the country's largest superstores, with amazingly cheap prices and a wide variety of products. Now, the retailer is working toward becoming a zero-waste company, and one of the biggest steps in this direction is getting rid of Walmart plastic bags.
Plastic Bags and the Environment
Some states have already begun this process, such as the eight states- California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon and Vermont- who enacted a plastic bag ban. Their ban of single-use plastic bags ensures that stores only carry paper bags, and that these cost 5 cents to use.
Along with these state govs, some stores such as Kroger have made attempts to become bagless to reduce harm to the environment. Many of us have begun keeping our own reusable bags in our cars to remember them at the grocery store, and the discussion has taken to social media with force.
Despite these efforts, we're far from perfect when it comes to our usage of plastic bags. About 100 billion plastic bags are still being used in the United States every year, and less than a tenth of these are recycled. This leaves the remainder to pile up in landfills, oceans, and other areas where they contaminate soil and disrupt ecosystems.
Walmart Removes Plastic Bags
Walmart announced last year, during the Coronavirus pandemic, that it would be joining the number of companies working to eliminate single-use plastic shopping bags from stores. Over the next few months, customers will see plastic bags disappear from Walmart stores, in an attempt to encourage the use of reusable grocery bags.
One strategy to eliminate the use of plastic bags is Walmart's partnership with Beyond the Bag, an organization working to create alternatives to the plastic bag. Along with Walmart, CVS and Target are founding partners of the initiative, and the three have contributed millions of dollars to fund the creation of a "reimagined" plastic bag.
Beyond the Bag also ran #BeyondtheBag challenge last summer, in which innovators shared their ideas. There were over 450 submissions to the competition, and nine winners with the best ideas were selected. Some ideas revolved around reusable plastic bags and new paper bags, while others promoted the sale of reusable bags in-store. Each idea will now be tested by the initiative to find the most effective one.
Walmart hasn't yet settled on a definitive replacement for plastic bags, but they're making sustainability more of a priority, which will soon become clear as Walmart plastic bags disappear from stores. If you don't already, bringing your own reusable bags to the grocery store is a step in the right direction!