As of Friday, Canadian Walmart stores will no longer offer single-use plastic bags for in-store purchases, online grocery pickups and deliveries.
The change applies to all of Walmart’s more than 400 locations across the country, the company announced on Earth Day.
“This is a big moment for our associates and our customers: making this change will help to prevent more than 680 million single-use plastic bags from entering circulation each year,” Lindsay Flint, store process and innovation implementation manager of Walmart Canada, said in a news release.
Customers will now be expected to bring their own reusable bags or purchase them from Walmart Canada.
According to Walmart’s website, they will still provide bags for items sold in bulk, such as meat, fish, fruit, vegetables, nuts, candy, flour, and cereals; produces bags; and items already packaged by means of industrial processing.
The retail giant has joined a growing list of brand names like Sobeys Inc., Foodland and FreshCo that have transitioned to reusable and paper bags in early 2021, with most of their banner stores across the country eliminating plastic bags altogether in 2022.
Walmart said that they started their no plastic bags initiative across the country on Jan. 1 and went from having 10 pilot stores participating to more than 54 by March.
According to Environment and Climate Change Canada, Canadians discard three million tonnes of plastic waste each year, and only nine per cent of it is recycled.
A study conducted by Deloitte and Cheminfo Services Inc. shows that the majority of plastics introduced to the Canadian market and discarded as waste in 2016 were actually packaging materials. This included plastic bags, bottles and other items commonly used in the food and beverage sector.
Walmart said that its move will help to prevent more than 680 million single-use plastic bags from entering circulation each year.