NEW YORK — Walmart will begin selling reusable bags at checkout to reduce plastic waste.
The company said on Wednesday the reusable bag initiative will start rolling out next month. Customers are increasingly demanding environmentally friendly products and packaging. Placing the bags at checkout will “increase customer convenience,” the company said in a press release.
The reusable bags are made out of recycled plastic and will be available for purchase for 98 cents.
Walmart’s move comes as retailers and governments seek to move away from single-use plastic bags and items. Kroger said it would eliminate plastic bags at stores by 2025. Starbucks said it will phase out plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020. New York is poised to become the second state after California to ban single-use plastic bags and the European Parliament has approved a law banning a wide-range of plastic items, such as straws, cotton buds and cutlery, by 2021.
Walmart in February pledged to drastically reduce its plastic waste and said it would try to offer 100% recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable packaging for its private brand packaging by 2025.
Most plastics don’t biodegrade, and the massive amounts that are piling up in landfills emit greenhouse gases and contribute to global warming. Plastics are expected to outweigh fish in the ocean by 2050, according to a report from the World Economic Forum.
Walmart, which has more than 2 million employees worldwide, has also been working to cut emissions from its global supply chain and said it will increase the use of sustainable textiles and move towards being 100% powered by renewable energy by 2025.