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Walmart stores going bagless: when will it happen and in which state’s stores?

The national supermarket chain is implementing some changes to make its stores more environmentally friendly by reducing one of the largest sources of plastic waste.

Walmart stores going bagless: when will it happen and in which state’s stores?

Shoppers in Maine will have to remember to bring their own bags to store after it was announced that all Walmart stores in the state will be going bagless from next month.

The state is set to impose a ban on plastic bags from 1 July onwards, a move that has been a long time coming but was delayed due to the pandemic. Accordingly, Walmart have announced that they will no longer be provided bags in Maine stores.

Walmart is one of the largest supermarket chains in the United States and the company have described the move as part of their commitment to promoting sustainable practices within their stores.

A company spokesperson told CBS 13: “With that ban soon taking effect, Walmart is converting all Maine stores to bagless on July 1. This decision only further demonstrates the company’s commitment to advancing sustainable initiatives that support people and the environment and to its ongoing efforts to target zero emissions in its global operations by 2040.

Walmart goes bagless in other regions

Maine is not the only area where the grocery giant is cutting back on plastic waste and Walmart Mexico y Centroamerica, which covers stores operating south of the border, have implemented similar rules.

As it covers such a vast area the move has not be enforced universally, but by the end of December 2020 the company reported that over 72% of Mexican stores were no longer providing plastic bags.

Back in the states, a recent bagless pilot in Vermont set the stage for the changes in Maine. Walmart say that 78% of Vermont customers supported bagless options during the pilot and it will be a key factor in their future decision.

The company website says that the decision “underlines our commitment to achieving zero waste and ultimately moving toward a circular economy where the materials we use stay in use.”

Environmental initiative Earth Day have found that roughly one trillion plastic bags are used globally every year, with fewer than 10% of plastic bags used in the US being recycled. Numerous studies have placed them amongst the top ten items found discarded in beach and waterways, making it a major concern.

Walmart’s own ‘Beyond the Bag’ competition sought to find a sustainable alternative to the plastic bags that are so frequently thrown away after a single use. Nine winners were awarded a share of a $1 million funding pot that will help them with testing, piloting and scaling their designs, which will hopefully become commonplace before too long.