Walmart "Heading in the Wrong Direction" With New Packaging, Shoppers Say

The retailer has reportedly switched some food packaging from paper to plastic.

As the largest U.S. retailer, Walmart is constantly switching things up, whether that's introducing exciting new products for customers, or trying to keep up with ever-evolving technology. Most of the changes Walmart introduces are met with positive feedback from its loyal shoppers, but some miss the mark. Now, the retailer is reportedly opting for new product packaging that some customers say means the company is "heading in the wrong direction." Read on to find out why Walmart is getting so much pushback.

RELATED: Walmart Worker Issues Warning to Shoppers About Self-Checkout.

A Redditor posted a photo of new plastic packaging.

walmart pasta
Copyright 7I_TheSeventhSector / Reddit

Like most big-box retailers, Walmart maintains several house brands, including its Great Value line. In the r/Anticonsumption subreddit, one customer posted a photo of a shelf with Great Value pasta, namely the elbow-shaped variety. In the picture, there are large and small cardboard boxes of the elbow pasta, but in the middle, there's also an option in plastic packaging.

"Walmart is slowly swapping from cardboard to plastic packaging with their pasta…" the text accompanying the photo reads.

Fellow Redditors were quick to share their opinion, with one writing, "And my local Sprouts switched to plastic only (no paper bags). We are heading in the wrong direction."

Another wrote, "Boo, you would hope the swap would be the other way," while a different commenter said that they've also seen this swap from paper to plastic for Great Value brand saltine crackers.

Best Life reached out to Walmart for comment on the packaging, and will update the story upon hearing back.

RELATED: Walmart Sells Super Cheap Lululemon Dupes—Are They Just as Good?

Shoppers don't like it, but offered potential explanations.

Shopping cart on a parking lot in front of main entrance to Walmart supermarket outdoor on the street with no people. Big Walmart logo on blue background behind.
Shutterstock

Some Redditors offered explanations for the change.

"It's probably the result of a supplier switch, but I agree, I do hate it," one comment reads.

Another Redditor who said they work in packaging attributed the swap to paper shortages dating back to the start of the COVID pandemic.

"It's getting a little better now, but I've seen a lot of brands go from paper to cheap overseas plastic, opposed to paying a few cents more per unit to get it made domestically with paper," they wrote. "I advocate for more sustainable options whenever I can, but it always comes down to cost and more often than not they prefer to save a few bucks on unit cost to get it made overseas. Funnily enough, the delays and shipping cost often make the price difference meaningless, but what do I know."

Another Redditor was more hopeful, pointing out that the new packages could be made of cellophane, which is biodegradable (unless other ingredients or coatings are added).

RELATED: Dollar Tree Sells These Same Exact 6 Items for Less Than Walmart and Target.

Walmart has active sustainability goals.

walmart paper bag mailers
Walmart

While customers say this packaging switch is regressive, it's also not exactly in line with Walmart's sustainability efforts.

Walmart has a zero-waste goal it hopes to reach in the next two years. To do so, the big-box retailer must achieve 100 percent recyclable, reusable, or industrially compostable packaging for it private brand packaging. Currently, it's at 58 percent, according to its website.

The company has been actively eliminating single-use plastic and paper bags in different states, and last month, the retailer announced that it had plans to eliminate over 2,000 tons of plastic by transitioning to paper bag mailers for online orders.

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There's an open lawsuit about Walmart's plastic recycling bags.

judge gavel
Impact Photogrpahy / Shutterstock

Despite these efforts, this isn't the first time Walmart has faced some pushback over its plastic policies. Last month, the state of Minnesota sued Walmart over its store-brand recycling bags.

The lawsuit targets Walmart's Great Value brand recycling bags and Hefty brand recycling bags from Reynolds Consumer Products, which was also named as a defendant, the Star Tribune reported.

Minnesota State Attorney General Keith Ellison alleged that both Walmart and Reynolds are "taking advantage of Minnesotans' good intentions to misleadingly market" their recycling bags, which are made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic and cannot actually be recycled.

In a statement previously provided to Best Life, Walmart said it would respond in court.

"Walmart does not manufacture these items, and we look to our suppliers to provide quality products that comply with all applicable laws, including labeling requirements. We will respond in court as appropriate once we are served," a spokesperson said.

Abby Reinhard
Abby Reinhard is a Senior Editor at Best Life, covering daily news and keeping readers up to date on the latest style advice, travel destinations, and Hollywood happenings. Read more
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