Walmart, the largest retailer in the U.S., is planning a significant overhaul of its packaging to curb waste. One significant change will be replacing plastic mailers with recyclable paper versions, a move expected to remove over 2,000 tons of plastic from circulation in the country by next January. Walmart also intends to deploy technology that creates custom-fit boxes at around 50% of its fulfillment centers, reducing material usage and optimizing truckload efficiency.
The retail giant will also offer customers the option to skip using plastic bags for curbside pickups by the end of the year, demonstrating a continued commitment to environmental responsibility. Walmart’s new initiatives align with a growing business focus on digital sales, representing about 13% of the company’s total annual sales.
Senior Vice President of Sustainability at Walmart, Jane Ewing, stressed that the aim is to make sustainability an effortless choice for customers, with eco-friendly products not carrying a higher price. This approach is expected to resonate with environmentally conscious consumers and those frustrated by accumulating packaging waste at home.
Walmart’s move to more sustainable packaging mirrors initiatives by other major retailers, including Amazon and Target. Amazon has also adopted custom-fit packaging and encouraged vendors to use their own containers, while Target has introduced recyclable paper cushioning and returnable bags at select stores.
The sustainability drive isn’t just for appealing to consumers. It also brings cost benefits. Custom-fit packaging, for instance, not only lessens the use of materials but also makes transportation more efficient and simplifies labor tasks. By championing sustainable practices, Walmart hopes to meet customer demand and reduce its environmental footprint.