Walmart’s 65 stores in Washington will do away with single-use plastic and paper bags for checkout and pickup beginning April 18, the retail giant announced this week.
Washington joins Walmart stores in Vermont, Maine, New Jersey, New York, Colorado and Connecticut in eliminating the single-use bags. Walmart has also gotten rid of paper and plastic bags in Canada and Mexico.
“Eliminating single-used bags is part of our effort to reduce waste at our stores and help keep Washington communities and ecosystems clean,” Jane Ewing, SVP of Walmart Sustainability, said in a statement. “Our Washington customers want to be engaged on this journey, and Walmart is committed to making the sustainable choice convenience and accessible every day.”
Walmart said it is able to avoid the use of 1.2 billion plastic and paper bags each year by eliminating them in the six previous states.
Beginning last October, Walmart stores began selling branded reusable bags. The retailer said it has since improved the placement of reusable bags in its stores, created new bag designs and adjusted checkout lanes to fit more reusable bags.
Delivery will continue to use single-use plastic bags and Walmart stores will continue to provide them to prevent food contamination when needed, the retailer said.
“To make the transition easier for its customers, Walmart will continue to offer a wide array of reusable bags and containers throughout stores and at checkout areas for purchase. Stores have added signing, social posts on store Facebook pages, and messages on the Walmart app to remind customers of the upcoming changes,” Walmart said in a statement.
Around the country, grocers and governments have worked to reduce usage of single-use plastic bags.
Last April, Rochester, New York-based Wegmans announced it would eliminate plastic bags chainwide by the end of 2022. Aldi has committed to getting rid of plastic shopping bags in all of its stores by the end of this year.
In October, California said it would prohibit single-use plastic produce bags, starting in 2025. It became the first state in the country to phase out pre-checkout bags.