Walmart Has Announced Plans to Remove Plastic Bags from Its Stores

The retailer has set a goal to become a zero-waste company—meaning no more Walmart plastic bags.

Unless you’ve been faithfully bringing reusable grocery bags to the store, you probably grab the plastic bags waiting for customers at the checkout. You’re not alone, either—about 100 billion plastic bags are used in the U.S. each year.

Unfortunately, single-use plastic bags have serious consequences once our trip to the grocery store is over. Less than 10% of plastic bags used in the U.S. are recycled, leaving the rest to end up in landfills, streets and contaminating soil, oceans and other natural habitats.

To combat pollution and other environmental issues, major companies are taking steps to eliminate the use of plastic shopping bags. If you’re a frequent customer at Walmart, don’t be surprised if you notice the plastic bags disappearing over the next few months. Last summer, the retailer announced its goal to be a zero-waste company—meaning no more plastic bags.

What Will Replace Walmart’s Plastic Bags?

That’s the burning question we all have, and as of now, there isn’t a solution.

But Walmart has announced its partnership with Beyond the Bag, an initiative working to explore reusable options and “reimagine” the plastic bag. Target and CVS are also on board as founding partners of Beyond the Bag, and so far, the three brands have kicked in $15 million to come up with a brand-new bag design.

The initiative also launched the #BeyondtheBag challenge, giving innovators a chance to share their ideas. The challenge ran throughout the summer of 2020, and nine winners from over 450 submissions were selected. From a kiosk dispensing reusable bags in-store to a new and improved paper bag, the winning designs cover a lot of bases. Each product now has the chance to be tested with funding from the initiative.

While a final replacement for plastic bags at Walmart has yet to be decided, there’s a more sustainable future on the horizon. And if you want to start reducing your use of plastic bags right now, check out our list of reusable bags to bring on your next grocery trip. If you still have plastic bags from previous trips, this is the easiest way to recycle them.

Next up: Here’s how to clean reusable bags (because they can be pretty darn dirty).

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Hannah Twietmeyer
Hannah is a writer and content creator based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, with a passion for all things food, health, community and lifestyle. She is a journalism graduate from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and a previous dining and drink contributor for Madison Magazine.