Walla Walla — Paper or plastic will no longer be a question asked by Walmart cashiers across Washington as the company moves to go bagless starting in April.
Right now, single-use bags can be conveniently purchased for eight cents each, but on April 18, customers may see a surge in more walking out of stores with unbagged groceries or sending for someone to the car to grab the reusable bags collecting dust in the back seat.
This follows the organization’s Beyond the Bag Consortium in 2020 and the 2021 Washington state law that banned single-use plastic bags.
Washington isn’t the first state where Walmart has gone bagless. As of January 2023, the company eliminated paper and plastic bags in Canada, Mexico, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Colorado and Connecticut.
In going bagless in six states, company officials said they will avoid the use of more than 1.2 billion plastic and paper bags per year.
To prepare for the shift, Walmart began rolling out new, branded reusable bags for purchase in October 2022. The company said they also have improved the placement of reusable bags in stores, and adjusted checkout lines to accommodate more reusable bags.
Delivery will continue to use paper bags and stores will provide single-use bags as needed for raw meats/proteins, produce and chemicals, to ensure food safety and prevent cross contamination.
“Eliminating single-use bags is part of our effort to reduce waste at our stores and help keep Washington communities and ecosystems clean,” said Jane Ewing, senior vice president of Walmart Sustainability in a news release. “Our Washington customers want to be engaged on this journey, and Walmart is committed to making the sustainable choice convenient and accessible every day.”
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