Walmart Announces Sustainability Initiatives
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BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Walmart announced June 1 it will take steps to significantly reduce the amount of plastic and cardboard it puts in the waste stream from online orders and reduce vehicle emissions from delivery of packages.
The changes are in response to customer desires that the company make more sustainable choices and reduce its carbon footprint toward a better environment, the company said.
“Our commitment to regeneration is core to who we are and how we innovate at Walmart,” Karisa Sprague, senior vice president of Fulfillment Network Operations for Walmart U.S., said in a statement.
“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,” Sprague said.
A Walmart plasticless paper bag mailer. (Walmart Inc.)
The company on June 1 outlined a series of changes to help reduce the company’s environmental impact. Among them:
- The company will replace plastic packaging used to fill eCommerce delivery orders with recyclable paper mailers. This change is expected to eliminate 65 million plastic bag mailers — more than 2,000 tons of plastic — from circulation by the end of this fiscal year.
- Additionally, customers soon will have the choice to opt out of single-use plastic bags when they pick up orders at stores. Early tests indicate promising adoption rates and potentially helping eliminate millions of single-use bags each year.
- An initiative to use right-sized cardboard boxes will mean a switch to smaller boxes that fit the needs of the order without putting extra cardboard into the waste stream. Smarter packaging that eliminates unused space in the box will reduce the need for filler by 60% while reducing waste caused by oversized boxes by as much as 26%.
- Customers shopping online also will be able to request consolidation of multiple items into fewer boxes, reducing waste as well as the number of shipments.
- The company also plans to use AI technology to better coordinate delivery of orders by matching store locations with customer delivery destinations. The expectation is that will lead to fewer miles driven for delivery, as some orders will be filled from nearby stores, rather than fulfillment centers, and scheduled with focus on efficient routes to multiple locations for each vehicle.
By leaning on its 4,700 stores as fulfillment centers, Walmart expects to speed delivery times, reduce miles and emissions and move closer to a goal of zero emissions by 2040, the company said.
“With a Walmart store located within 10 miles of 90% 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, senior vice president of End-to-End Delivery at Walmart U.S. “I’m proud of the efforts we’ve made and will continue to make as we keep regeneration at the forefront of delivery.”
Walmart Inc. ranks No. 2 on the Transport Topics Top 100 list of the largest private carriers in North America.
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