Walmart announced new steps to help make the everyday choice more sustainable by adopting measures designed 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 eCommerce orders, opting out of single-use plastic bags for online pickup orders and last-mile delivery efficiencies to reduce mileage and delivery times.
Customers have hundreds of millions of packages shipped from Walmart each year, so the retailer is making it even easier for customers to reduce plastic waste. Moving forward, nearly all orders shipped in plastic mailers from fulfilment centres, 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 USA by the end of the current fiscal year.
Additionally, customers nationwide 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 help eliminate millions of single-use bags annually from circulation. Walmart expects to complete the 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, senior vice president of Fulfillment Network Operations, Walmart USA.
Walmart is also helping reduce the amount of cardboard used to ship products to customers by transitioning to right-sized packaging technology in approximately half of its fulfilment 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, creating a better unboxing experience for customers.
Additionally, all Walmart customers shopping online can now request the consolidation of multiple items into fewer boxes, reducing waste and the number of shipments.
Finally, Walmart utilises applied AI to identify when an item purchased online can be fulfilled from stores instead of fulfilment centres. This reduces 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 fulfilment centres, 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 achieving zero emissions by 2040.
An associate is shown pushing a dolly with two blue bins up a driveway. A Walmart van is parked at the curb.
"With a Walmart store located within 10 miles of 90 percent of the US 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 US
"I'm proud of the efforts we've made and will continue to make as we keep regeneration at the forefront of delivery."
With a 27 percent growth in Walmart's eCommerce, Walmart is continuing to invest in the right omnichannel capabilities to meet customers' changing needs and grow its business and fulfilment network more sustainably. The enhancements announced today represent a key milestone in Walmart's journey to make everyday choices more sustainable for customers, regardless of how they shop.
These changes, powered by technology, driven by Walmart's purpose and activated by Walmart's omnichannel reach, symbolise how the retailer is activating its commitment to becoming a more regenerative company by placing people and the planet at the centre of its growth.
These efforts are part of Walmart's commitment to becoming a more regenerative company, prioritising social and environmental issues relevant to its business, critical to its stakeholders and issues where Walmart can make a positive difference.