The famous retail chain grocery Walmart has made public a statement in which it assures that 206 of its stores located in the USA will have an additional surcharge in their stores from now on. It is, exactly, the charge for shopping bags—this decision that does not seem to please consumers but rather the opposite. Below, we inform you about this new change in Walmart’s policy.
Most of the grocery stores where we can locate this new change regarding the cost of shopping bags at Walmart are in Colorado. In 105 of the stores located there, this new additional surcharge policy will be implemented. In the meantime, a few stores already have this surcharge policy in place, located in Vermont, Maine, and New Jersey.
Walmart’s Grocery Store’s New Change on the Cost of Bags in the United States
Contrary to what many people think, this new measure taken by Walmart has a win-win objective: to reduce the environmental impact caused by plastic bags. Thus, customers will be responsible for bringing their own bags to pick up the products they buy at their regular stores. Otherwise, they will be charged 10 cents for each bag they need.
Moreover, the leading retail chain has also switched from handing out bags to paper bags. This was implemented from the beginning of the year in Walmart stores in Colorado, which stopped selling plastic bags for paper ones from that same day, which is much less polluting. The chain is making changes to make its production much more environmentally friendly.
In 2020, Walmart issued a statement reflecting its commitment and goals to respect the environment and reduce its pollution footprint. Since then, it has been taking steps in that direction, although many consumers do not agree with some of the changes. Customers feel that, with the amount already done on plastic bags, suddenly eliminating them will have a counterproductive effect, polluting more than expected.
Alternatives to Plastic Bags for Grocery Shopping
The use of plastic bags has become a major environmental concern, and several alternatives to plastic bags are available. However, it is important to consider the environmental impact of these alternatives as well. A 2020 study by the UN Environment Program has analyzed the environmental footprint of various shopping bags, and the results vary depending on which criteria are considered. For example, while paper bags may score well in reducing litter, they require four to eight uses to have less impact on the climate than single-use plastic bag. Cotton bags, on the other hand, need to be used 50 to 150 times to be environmentally superior.
One alternative to plastic bags is reusable plastic bags or bins. Some retailers offer reusable bags made of plastic materials such as low-density polyethylene (LDPE), polypropylene (PP), polyethylene terephthalate (PET), and polyester. While these bags can be made from post-consumer recycled plastic, they are still made from fossil fuel products and need to be disposed of carefully at the end of their life. However, they are easy to clean, durable, and flexible, and offer a cheaper and longer-term solution than regular plastic bags.
A paper bag is another alternative to plastic bags. While paper bags lack the strength of plastic bags, they are fully recyclable, easy to fold and store, and contain no harmful chemicals. However, they require more energy to make than plastic bags and need to be used multiple times to have a lower environmental impact than single-use plastic bags. Here are some alternatives to plastic bags for grocery shopping:
- Reusable canvas bags: Canvas bags are a great alternative to plastic bags as they are durable, washable, and can carry a lot of weight. They also have a long lifespan and can be used for multiple purposes. Society6 offers canvas tote bags with unique designs from actual artists, making them a stylish choice.
- Paper bags: They are 100% recyclable and biodegradable, making them a great option for single-use purposes like grocery shopping. They are also easy to fold and store for your next trip to the store. To add extra strength, try slipping one paper bag inside another.
- Reusable plastic bags: If you’re not quite ready to give up the convenience and reliability of plastic, reusable plastic bags are a good option. They are made with recyclable, durable HDPE or LDPE plastics and are easy to clean. They also offer a much cheaper, longer-term solution than regular plastic bags. Some companies even offer biodegradable options.
- Mesh produce bags: Mesh produce bags are perfect for carrying fruits and vegetables. They are lightweight, breathable, and can be washed and reused. All Cotton and Linen offers reusable foldable double-stitched grocery bags that are a great choice.
- Woven bags: made from jute, cotton, or recycled materials are a great alternative to plastic bags. Reuse This Bag supplies custom woven bags made from 100% recycled materials. They offer a variety of bag solutions, including reusable grocery bags, wine and beer bags, drawstring bags, and more.
The United States Has a Problem With Plastic Bags in Stores and the Whole Lifestyle
In the US alone, it’s estimated that around 35 billion plastic bags, sacks, and wraps are discarded each year. Only 1% of these are recycled, the rest ends up in landfills or as litter, causing harm to the environment and wildlife.
On a global scale, the problem of plastic waste is even more staggering. Around 8 million metric tons of plastic waste yearly in the oceans. This is equivalent to the weight of around 1 billion elephants. Plastic waste also causes severe damage to marine life and ecosystems. Plastic pollution also causes economic losses worth around $13 billion annually.
Learn to Reduce the Single-Use Plastics in Your Home With These Simple Tips
Single-use plastics are a concern, because practically everything comes packaged in plastic in this country. The first thing is to look for and prioritize the products that come, either free of plastics in the packaging, or with as little plastic as possible. Switch to reusable water bottles, coffee cups, and food containers. Not only will you be reducing your plastic waste, but you’ll also have a stylish and convenient way to transport your food and beverages.
Some other utensils are easier to ditch: I mean, you can learn to live without straws, don’t you? Opt for reusable options such as metal or bamboo straws, and metal or wooden utensils. These can easily be washed and used again and again.
Another great way to reduce single-use plastics is to bring your shopping bags to the grocery store, which will be your new routine when shopping at Walmart. Many stores now offer reusable bags for purchase, or you can even make your own out of fabric scraps or tote bags.
Costumers Are Furious For This New Walmart Policy
Customers of Walmart are expressing their frustration over the company’s decision to charge for plastic bags in their stores across the United States. The move, aimed at promoting sustainability, has not been received well by many shoppers who believe that the company should not be passing on the cost of environmental responsibility onto them.
Many customers have taken to social media platforms like Reddit to voice their concerns, with some calling the decision a “greedy move” by Walmart. John, a Walmart customer from Texas, stated, “I can’t believe Walmart is charging for bags now. They make enough money as it is. This is just another way for them to squeeze more money out of us.”
Similarly, Lisa, a frequent shopper at Walmart in California, commented, “I used to love shopping at Walmart, but now I have to think twice before going there. I don’t want to pay extra for something that used to be free.” While Walmart claims that the initiative is part of its broader effort to reduce waste and promote sustainability, many customers feel that they should not be penalized for the company’s environmental goals.
It remains to be seen how Walmart will respond to the backlash, but for now, many customers are feeling the pinch in their wallets.
Walmart’s Environmental Commitments in the United States
Despite consumer complaints, Walmart has not changed its mind, and the chain is more determined and focused than ever to reduce plastic bag consumption in its stores to 0. Only time will tell us if these measures benefit the environment or if, on the contrary, a new plan needs to be drawn up to do things better.
Say Goodbye to Plastic Bags at Walmart: Company Leads the Way in These States
Walmart does not have a national policy on its bags, and its approach to plastic waste reduction varies from state to state. For example, in states governed by Republicans, who are less supportive of reducing plastics and combating climate change, Walmart and other companies move more slowly and impose these changes more slowly. 20 states already have different laws requiring municipalities to discard plastic bags, according to the Surfider Foundation. The three states in which the retail chain will phase out bags are New York, Connecticut, and Colorado, and others that could follow in the near future.
Eliminating single-use plastic and paper bags is crucial to reducing single-use plastic bag waste, according to Judith Enck, former regional administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency and current president of Beyond Plastics. Plastic bags and plastic itself is a problem because it is not biodegradable and takes hundreds of years to disappear, causing many of these types of packaging to end up in the ocean and rivers, causing damage to the environment. According to the EPA, only 10% of plastic bags are recycled and they are the fifth most common type of plastic waste, according to the Ocean Conservancy.