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Walmart joins effort for less plastic bags

by Serenah McKay | August 3, 2021 at 11:41 a.m.
FILE - In this March 31, 2020 file photo, a woman pulls groceries from a cart to her vehicle outside of a Walmart store in Pearl, Miss.

Walmart Inc. is taking part in a multicompany pilot program aimed at reducing plastics in the environment.

The Bentonville-based retailer is a founding partner of the Consortium to Reinvent the Plastic Bag, which is looking for ways to keep single-use plastic bags out of landfills and oceans. Walmart and partners CVS Health and Target Corp. donated a combined $15 million to the project.

After gathering ideas for alternatives from inventors and supply chain and packaging experts, the consortium chose four pilot projects for rolling six-week tests at nine Northern California stores. The first tests started Monday.

Walmart will try out kiosks that provide reusable totes for in-store use, and a digital tag and app system that rewards shoppers for reusing their own bags.

The company is also testing, through its delivery service, reusable shipping and packaging containers as well as a data-exchange program that tracks how consumers use bags and containers.

These pilot tests represent an "industry-wide commitment toward a more sustainable future," said Jane Ewing, Walmart's senior vice president of sustainability.

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