Walmart to go 'bagless' February 15

Vermont Business Magazine The State of Vermont last July implemented a “paper bag only” requirement as it banned plastic shopping bags. The decision was well-received, as retailers and customers look to lower their use of plastics. Last summer, Walmart joined other major retailers in an effort to reduce use of limited-use shopping bags. Now, following a positive response and support from its customers, Walmart is converting all Vermont stores to bagless, effective February 15.

Walmart said in their announcement that this decision only further demonstrates the company’s commitment to advancing sustainable initiatives that support people and the environment and to its ongoing efforts to target zero emissions in its global operations within the next 20 years.

Walmart Williston. VBM file photo.

A shopping bag is at the center of the final interaction of almost every in-store purchase – be that your weekly grocery trip, a quick milk run or back-to-school shopping.

While the convenience of the plastic retail bag cannot be disputed, the average working life of one of these bags is only 12 minutes. It’s estimated that 100 billion plastic bags are being used annually in the U.S. alone, and less than 10 percent of them are recycled. Retailers are looking for alternative solutions: however, these alternatives have yet to garner widespread use by the public, and many still have significant environmental impacts.

Above and Beyond

Because Walmart has set an aspirational zero waste goal, they have joined the “Beyond the Bag” initiative as a Founding Partner to accelerate innovation for much-needed solutions.

With funding from Walmart, Target and CVS Health, this three-year initiative is led by Closed Loop Partners with the goal of identifying, testing and implementing viable design solutions and models that more sustainably serve the purpose of the current retail bag. Collectively, Founding Partners have committed $15 million to launch the Beyond the Bag Initiative.

Creating large-scale change to address a global waste challenge simply can’t happen in a vacuum. It calls for commitment and cooperation from across the industry to drive change through inventive, even transformational thinking.

Source: Walmart 1.11.2021