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Walmart Is Getting Rid of Its Familiar Packaging—And Letting You Ditch Plastic Bags

The big-box retailer is doubling down on its efforts to reduce waste with new measures.

While its name is associated with consistency, Walmart is not afraid to make big changes. In the past year alone, the big-box retailer has expanded its beauty department, remodeled stores to be more interactive, and introduced a new "Text to Shop" feature for Android and Apple users. The newest upgrade on the horizon may come as a surprise to the retailer's most loyal shoppers—but there's a very good reason for it. Read on to find out more about Walmart's eco-friendly initiatives, including getting rid of its familiar packaging.

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Walmart has already gotten rid of plastic bags at many stores.

Orlando, Fl, USA - January 25, 2022: Plastic single-use shopping bags at the checkout area in a Walmart store.

Since summer 2020, Walmart has been on a mission to "reinvent the plastic bag" as part of its zero-waste goal. Through this initiative, the big-box retailer has removed single-use plastic bags from its stores in 10 states: Connecticut, Colorado, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Washington, and Vermont.

"We are working hard to ensure a seamless and convenient shift to reusable bags for our customers and associates," Lauren Willis, global communications director for Walmart in the western U.S., previously told Best Life. "Eliminating single-use bags is part of our commitment to achieve zero waste across our operations and ultimately shift gradually toward a circular economy built on advancing reuse, refill, and recycling habits."

The retailer is now getting rid of more plastic packaging.

walmart new packaging recyclable mailers

Walmart's sustainability efforts are far from over. In a June 1 press release, the retailer revealed that it is now planning to reduce the amount of packaging waste from online orders. Its new measures will "help make the everyday choice the more sustainable choice," with a major part of this initiative being the move from plastic mailers to recyclable paper mailers.

"Moving forward, nearly all orders shipped in plastic mailers from fulfillment centers, stores and marketplace items shipped with Walmart Fulfillment Services, will arrive in recyclable paper bag mailers," Walmart said.

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You will also have the option to ditch plastic bags for online orders.

walmart new plastic bag opt out option

The transition to paper bag mailers is just one of the ways Walmart is double down on reducing waste with its online orders. Per the press release, the retailer is also going to give customers the choice to opt out of single-use plastic bags when picking up their items.

"Early tests indicate promising adoption rates and potentially helping eliminate millions of single-use bags each year from circulation," Walmart said.

The retailer is planning to introduce this new packaging option to customers nationwide, with the expectation that it will complete the rollout to all U.S. Walmart stores by the end of 2023.

But if you aren't able to ditch plastic bags for your online orders just yet, you can make more sustainable moves in other ways by helping reduce the amount of cardboard used to ship your products.

"All Walmart customers shopping online can now request consolidation of multiple items into fewer boxes, reducing waste as well as the number of shipments," the retailer said.

Walmart is expecting to eliminate 2,000 tons of plastic with these new plans.

store employees loading groceries at a pickup. People can order groceries online and pick up at a designated time.

By creating a more sustainable omnichannel fulfillment network, Walmart is moving closer to its initial zero waste goal, according to its press release. Through the transition from plastic to recyclable paper mailers, the retailer said it expects to eliminate 65 million plastic bag mailers from circulation in the U.S. by the end of the 2023 fiscal year. This is equivalent to more than 2,000 tons of plastic.

"Our commitment to regeneration is core to who we are and how we innovate at Walmart," Karisa Sprague, Walmart's senior vice president for its fulfillment network operations, said in a statement. "Customers have told us how excited they are about these enhancements to make it easier for them to make more sustainable choices that support the planet and the next generation."

Kali Coleman
Kali Coleman is a Senior Editor at Best Life. Her primary focus is covering news, where she often keeps readers informed on the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic and up-to-date on the latest retail closures. Read more
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