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Walmart Introduces Sustainable, Waste-Reducing Options

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Bentonville, Arkansas-based Walmart has announced new sustainability steps to reduce the amount of packaging waste associated with online orders.

This includes moving from plastic to recyclable paper mailers, right-sizing cardboard box packaging, giving customers the option to consolidate shipping on e-commerce orders, opting out of single-use plastic bags for online pickup orders and last mile delivery efficiencies to reduce mileage and delivery times.


Reducing waste

Moving forward, nearly all orders shipped in plastic mailers from fulfillment centers, stores and marketplace items shipped with Walmart Fulfillment Services, will arrive in recyclable paper bag mailers. This transition is expected to eliminate 65 million plastic bag mailers or more than 2,000 tons of plastic from circulation in the U.S. by the end of the current fiscal year.

Additionally, customers will soon have the choice to opt out of single-use plastic bags for their online pickup orders. Early tests indicate promising adoption rates and potentially helping eliminate millions of single-use bags each year from circulation. Walmart expects to complete rollout nationwide by the end of the year.

“Our commitment to regeneration is core to who we are and how we innovate at Walmart. Customers have told us how excited they are about these enhancements to make it easier for them to make more sustainable choices that support the planet and the next generation,” said Karisa Sprague, SVP, fulfillment network operations.

Right-sized packages and consolidated shipping

Walmart is also transitioning to right-sized packaging technology in about half of its fulfillment network. This technology helps create a package custom fitted to the customer’s order. By eliminating unused space in the box, this technology reduces the need for filler by 60 percent while reducing waste caused by oversized boxes by as much as 26 percent.

Additionally, all Walmart customers shopping online can request consolidation of multiple items into fewer boxes, reducing waste as well as the number of shipments.

Faster delivery, fewer miles and boxes

Finally, Walmart uses applied AI to identify when an item purchased online can be fulfilled from stores instead of fulfillment centers. This reduces both the number of miles driven and the number of boxes used for shipping.

To ensure that items can more sustainably travel from stores to customers’ homes, the retailer combines multiple orders on single delivery routes and delivers them using electric vans. By leaning on its 4,700 stores as fulfillment centers, Walmart activates its end-to-end network to speed up delivery times for customers and reduce fleet miles and emissions, in line with the retailer’s commitment to achieve zero emissions by 2040.

“With a Walmart store located within 10 miles of 90 percent of the U.S. population, we can make a meaningful difference for our customers by strategically using our stores and last mile delivery network to reduce waste and emissions,” said Jennifer McKeehan, SVP of end-to-end delivery. “I’m proud of the efforts we’ve made and will continue to make as we keep regeneration at the forefront of delivery.”

These efforts are part of Walmart’s commitment to becoming a more regenerative company, which means prioritizing social and environmental issues that are relevant to its business, important to its stakeholders and issues where it can make a positive difference.

Additional information about Walmart can be found by visiting corporate.walmart.com.


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