Walmart's New Year's resolution: no more plastic bags | Business | gjsentinel.com

2022-12-13 19:53:35 By : Ms. Amy Wu

Scott Crabtree/The Daily Sentinel

A customer leaves the Rimrock Walmart last week in Grand Junction, carrying purchased goods in a plastic bag. Sustainability advocate group As You Sow estimated that, in 2020, Walmart distributed as many as 20 billion single-use plastic bags. That practice ends with the new year. Paper Bags

Walmart

Scott Crabtree/The Daily Sentinel

A customer carries goods in plastic bags as she leaves the Rimrock Walmart last week in

Grand Junction. Reusable bags will be required Jan. 1 at all Walmart stores in Colorado.

Scott Crabtree/The Daily Sentinel

A customer leaves the Rimrock Walmart last week in Grand Junction, carrying purchased goods in a plastic bag. Sustainability advocate group As You Sow estimated that, in 2020, Walmart distributed as many as 20 billion single-use plastic bags. That practice ends with the new year.

Once the calendar flips from 2022 to 2023, Walmart shoppers across the Western Slope — and across Colorado — are going to notice something’s missing while checking out.

Sustainability advocate group As You Sow estimated that, in 2020, Walmart distributed as many as 20 billion single-use plastic bags. The average Walmart shopper has likely become familiar with the towering pile of plastic bags that remains from unloading groceries after an extensive trip to the store.

Last year, Walmart began testing replacements for single-use plastic shopping bags. The company is taking the next step forward on New Year’s Day, and shoppers at the store’s Western Slope locations are going to immediately notice the difference.

“Beginning Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023, Walmart stores in Colorado will no longer provide single-use plastic or paper bags at checkout or pickup,” said Lauren Willis, said Walmart Western U.S. director of communications.

“Delivery will shift to paper bags. We are working hard to ensure a seamless and convenient shift to reusable bags for our customers and associates. Eliminating single-use bags is part of our commitment to achieve zero waste across our operations and ultimately shift gradually toward a circular economy built on advancing reuse, refill and recycling habits.”

The shift to paper bags is part of the company’s stated commitment to achieving zero waste in the U.S. and Canada by 2025. Walmart partnered with the Beyond the Bag Initiative to identify, test and implement new shopping bag designs to replace single-use plastic.

The shift is in accordance with the Management of Plastic Products Bill that was signed into law in Colorado late last year.

Under this new law, the state will charge customers 10 cents per paper or plastic bag used at most stores starting next year. The ban on single-use plastic bags, as well as polystyrene containers often used for takeout food, will go into effect in 2024.

Once the ban goes into effect, paper bags will still cost 10 cents, as state legislators want to encourage customers to purchase and consistently reuse their own bags.

Sixty percent of the bag fee will go to local jurisdictions for recycling or composting programs and related administrative costs. The rest of the bag fee will go toward businesses.

However, people enrolled in state or federal food assistance programs will not be subjected to the fee.

Scott Crabtree/The Daily Sentinel

A customer carries goods in plastic bags as she leaves the Rimrock Walmart last week in

Grand Junction. Reusable bags will be required Jan. 1 at all Walmart stores in Colorado.

Kroger, another giant in the retail world that owns and operates City Market locations in the Grand Valley as well as King Soopers stores throughout Colorado and has a total of 138 stores in the state, orders about 6 billion single-use plastic bags each year.

As a result of that figure, in 2018, Kroger, like Walmart, committed to phasing out plastic bags at all of its nearly 2,800 stores by 2025 through the company’s Zero Hunger-Zero Waste Foundation, a 501(c)(3) public charity.

Four years ago, Kroger’s plan was to urge customers to purchase reusable bags or paper bags, which cost $1 or $2 each. Nothing substantial about Kroger’s plan for phasing out plastic bags or the timeline for doing so has changed since then, according to King Soopers and City Market Division Communications Director Jessica Trowbridge, who handles communications for Kroger stores in Colorado, Utah, New Mexico and Wyoming.

However, the Management of Plastic Products Law might speed up the process.

“At City Market, we remain committed to our Zero Hunger-Zero Waste goals and we continue to work on a single-use plastic bag phase-out strategy that works for our customers as we work to achieve our zero-waste goals,” Trowbridge said.

The Daily Sentinel reached out to Safeway to ask whether the company has its own plans to phase out plastic bags, but Safeway did not respond.

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