Walmart Canada plans to eliminate single-use plastic bags in its more-than-400 locations by Earth Day 2022. The changes apply to in-store purchases along with online grocery pickup and delivery orders, which will prevent nearly 750 million bags from entering circulation annually.
The national roll-out follows a 10-store pilot that began in August 2021. This successful pilot received overwhelmingly positive feedback from customers and associates and diverted nearly six million plastic bags, Walmart says. Customers will be encouraged to bring reusable options from home to carry out their purchases. Low-cost, high-quality reusable options will also be available for purchase if needed.
“We’ve made big strides in the past year, introducing significant commitments to pollinator health, beef sourced from certified sustainable Canadian farms and ranches and more sustainably-sourced textiles, among others,” said Guarav Gupta, ESG director at Walmart Canada. “We have ambitious goals on our journey to becoming a regenerative company, including zero emissions across our global operations by 2040, working towards zero waste in our operations, and having 100 per cent alternatively-powered fleet vehicles by 2028.”
Other sustainability goals
Some of the changes already implemented include:
– eliminating plastic wrap from organic banana bunches and single peppers, which removes more than 205,000 lbs. of plastic annually
– increasing post-consumer recycled content in the packaging holding baked goods, avoiding the use of 925,000 lbs. of new plastics annually
– removing 420,000 lbs. of expanded polystyrene from entering the supply chain annually by introducing new packaging for sausage trays
– eliminating single-use plastic straws in-store and replacing them with paper alternatives, taking approximately 35 million single-use plastic straws out of circulation annually.
The reduction in plastic waste was first highlighted in Walmart’s 2019 Charter on Plastics.
“This change has been on the horizon for a long time, and while we implemented within certain municipalities that moved forward with plastic bag bans, we knew we wanted to go further,” Gupta said.