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Walmart Is Banning Shoppers From Doing This in 4 States, as of Next Year

The shopping experience could change in some areas in the next few months.

The shopping experience at Walmart is nothing if not consistent. The megaretailer has changed with the times to keep giving customers what they want, from a convenient shopping experience to maintaining their low prices despite soaring inflation. Typically, this involves adding features or perks that endear fans to the store even more. But even as the world's second-largest retailer, some changes are inevitable for the company—including ones that could affect the shopping experience. Read on to see what Walmart is banning shoppers from doing in four states as of next year.

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Walmart has recently made major investments in its customer experience.

walmart curbside pickup
Dominique James / Shutterstock

There's no question that the pace of change in the retail industry has quickened in recent years. But unlike some other once-iconic stores that have all but disappeared, Walmart has managed to keep customers coming back by embracing new technology and fine-tuning its customer experience.

In July, the store unveiled a new augmented reality (AR) feature built into its app that allows customers to see how a piece of furniture or décor will look in their home before they decide to buy it. The company also announced it had updated its website to optimize the experience for Spanish speakers shopping on its website. And the retailer also kicked off a partnership with streaming platform Roku that allows customers to shop for items using their TVs.

Devoted Walmart customers have also likely found more reasons to return to the store lately. Earlier this summer, the retailer announced that it was updating its Walmart+ subscription service, allowing members to bundle their package with InHome Delivery for an extra $40 annually. The service provides customers with the convenience of having the items they ordered brought straight to their doorstep, garage, or fridge. But despite these recent additions, there's one thing Walmart shoppers in some areas won't see in stores for much longer.

Walmart is banning shoppers from doing this at stores in some areas in the coming months.

walmart customers at registers

Walmart shoppers in Colorado may soon notice a significant change when they checkout with their purchases. According to signs initially posted in the store's Monument location, plastic bags will no longer be available to Walmart customers in the coming months, local ABC affiliate KRDO reports.

Originally, signage had announced that the changes would take effect beginning Sept. 15. However, those notices have since been removed from the store, with representatives telling KRDO that the new policy will go into effect at a later date in the coming months.

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By early next year, Walmart locations in four states will have ditched plastic bags.

Taking walmart shopping cart

News of the major change comes after the state government passed Colorado House Bill 1162 last year, KRDO reports. Even though the new legislation will ban stores and restaurants from giving out single-use plastics such as shopping bags beginning in 2024, the company said it would be getting a head start on the changes—and has even instituted similar policies in other states.

"Walmart has been exploring alternatives to single-use carryout bags from our stores since 2021 while prioritizing our customers' convenience and product safety, including through the Beyond the Bag Consortium. In the U.S., we have transitioned from plastic bags in Vermont, Maine, and New Jersey, and, starting early 2023, we expect to eliminate single-use carryout bags in Colorado as well—with reusable bags available for purchase at multiple prices," a corporate spokesperson for Walmart told KRDO in a statement.

"For in-store and curbside delivery, we will continue to encourage our customers to bring their own bags and/or purchase reusable bags and will be switching to reusable paper bags for delivery. Walmart remains committed to identifying solutions that are scalable, convenient, and sustainable," the representative explained.

States and cities across the U.S. have enacted their own legislation limiting or banning plastic bags.

person holding plastic bag outside
Shutterstock / daizuoxin

Despite how convenient they may seem, plastic bags have become a major ecological issue, with less than 10 percent of those put into use ending up recycled, according to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). As a result, state and municipal governments around the U.S. have begun to institute their own local ordinances similar to Colorado's that limit or outright ban retailers and other businesses from furnishing plastic bags. As of February 2021, eight states had enacted bans on single-use plastic bags, including California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont, per the National Conference of State Legislatures (NCSL). Other areas, such as Montgomery County, Maryland, and Washington, D.C., have also required businesses to charge a five or 10-cent fee per bag used by a customer.

But it's not just plastic bags: Walmart's latest decision aligns with the company's commitment to becoming a zero waste operation in the U.S. in Canada by 2025. After announcing the initiative last year, the retailer says it aims to switch to "100 percent recyclable, reusable, or industrially compostable packaging" for its own brands by 2025 while also "aiming to label 100 percent of that packaging with recycling instructions to educate our customers and eliminate non-recyclable packaging by the same time frame."

Zachary Mack
Zach is a freelance writer specializing in beer, wine, food, spirits, and travel. He is based in Manhattan. Read more
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