- In an effort to cut back on the use of disposable plastic bags, Walmart has started a “bagless” pilot in Vermont, according to a blog post on Monday from the retailer.
- The pilot started Feb. 15, and Walmart stores in the state are now asking customers to bring their own reusable bags or containers, according to several local media reports. The outcome of the pilot will help guide the company’s future bagless efforts, wrote Jane Ewing, senior vice president of sustainability at Walmart.
- The Mexican and Central American Walmart division is also going bagless, and more than 72% of the retailer’s stores in Mexico have already stopped providing plastic bags, Ewing wrote. The bagless efforts come at a time when Walmart and other retailers are continuing to ramp up their sustainability initiatives.
Seventy-eight percent of Walmart’s Vermont shoppers support the bagless options, Ewing wrote in the blog post. That figure aligns with shifting shopper values: The number of consumers who considered environmental impacts when making purchases has increased from 71% in 2019 to 83% as of last April, according to global management and consulting firm Kearney.
The efforts to cut out single-use plastic bags fit into the retailer’s larger sustainability goals, which including reaching zero emissions in its operations by 2040, creating zero waste in key markets by 2025 and reducing greenhouse gas emissions by a gigaton by 2030. By 2030, the retailer has also pledged to protect, manage or restore at least 50 million acres of land and 1 million square miles of ocean.
In the blog post, Ewing tied the bagless announcements to Walmart’s efforts with the “Beyond the Bag” initiative, which launched last summer with the retailer as one of its founding partners. Ewing spotlighted the nine winners of the Beyond the Bag Challenge, who came up with new ways to reinvent the retail bag. Walmart plans to pilot some of the winning solutions from the challenge, Ewing wrote, without indicating which ones or how many.
The Beyond the Bag initiative has seen several retailers sign on recently, including Albertsons and Dollar General. Meijer, Hy-Vee, Kroger, Walgreens, CVS Health and Target also back the initiative.
Walmart has also signed onto other initiatives with major retailers. Last year, Walmart joined nearly 200 major food suppliers, including Ahold Delhaize and Kroger, in supporting the 10x20x30 initiative, which aims to halve food waste by 2030.