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Walmart launches reusable bag initiative

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Move is part of a larger effort to reduce plastic waste

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart said Wednesday that it will offer reusable shopping bags at the checkout counters of all its U.S. stores as part of its campaign to cut down on plastic waste.

The company will introduce 10 new designs of reusable totes, which will be available for purchase for 98 cents apiece at the bagging stations of its stores. Walmart will still offer single-use plastics bags, as well as reusable totes introduced earlier. Plastic shopping bags can take up to 1,000 years to biodegrade. Last year, Walmart shortened the length of its single-use plastic bags, resulting in a savings of $20 million per year.

The new reusable bag initiative will begin rolling out to stores next month and follows a recent announcement by Walmart on a series of plastic waste reduction goals that seek to advance the sustainability of the retailer’s private brand packaging by making it 100% recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable by 2025.

The company announced the reusable bag program at this year’s milestone summit, which featured announcements and updates on several sustainability initiatives. For example, the event marks the two-year anniversary of Project Gigaton, a platform in which Walmart is working with suppliers to try to emitting 1 billion metric tons — a gigaton — of greenhouse gases from points along its value chains by 2030. As part of the summit, Walmart Canada announced it is joining Project Gigaton, making it Walmart’s third international market to work with suppliers to lower emissions.

Walmart said that in the first two years of Project Gigaton, many suppliers have delivered targeted results toward meeting the ultimate goal.

“We are encouraged by the engagement of our suppliers in Project Gigaton,” said Kathleen McLaughlin, senior vice president and chief sustainability officer for Walmart. “To achieve our ambitious climate goals, we aim to expand and deepen that engagement. The progress to date shows how companies can contribute to climate action through practical actions all along the product supply chain. Ultimately, building sustainable supply chains requires collective action from everyone — not only our associates and suppliers, but customers, business in general, and civil society. We are excited to be part of the solution.”

Also during the summit, the company offered an update on its responsible sourcing work alongside NGOs, industry groups, governments and suppliers, with the aim of improving lives of workers in the global apparel supply chain. Walmart also shared new sustainability goals for apparel and soft home textiles within Walmart U.S. stores. Walmart aims to increase the use of recycled polyester fiber, setting a goal of using 50% recycled content by 2025 and to source 100% more sustainable cotton.

The company plans to reduce it manufacturing impact by sourcing apparel and home textile products only from suppliers working with textile mills that use the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM) to measure and help improve environmental performance. Walmart will also prioritize sustainable chemistry, setting a goal to reduce the discharge of priority chemicals from the textile manufacturing process.

Walmart touted its progress in increasing the availability of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at it stores and clubs across the United States.

 


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