Wal-Mart plans to cut its worldwide plastic shopping bag waste by an average of 33 percent per store by 2013, an effort the world’s biggest retailer said could eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic waste. To meet that goal, Wal-Mart will give out fewer bags and encourage shoppers to use reusable ones.
The announcement, published in a Reuters story, is part of Wal-Mart’s goal of one day creating zero waste. It also comes amid a global push to curb the use of plastic bags, which environmentalists say can take up to 1,000 years to disintegrate and pose threats to marine life, birds and other animals.
Earlier this year, San Francisco became the first U.S. city to outlaw non-biodegradable plastic bags from large supermarkets, and the state of California has enacted a law that requires large stores to take back plastic bags and encourage their reuse.
Wal-Mart said its stores in Mexico and the United States are introducing cheaper, affordable reusable bags. While in the United States it currently sells a reusable bag for $1, the retailer said it will begin offering a new reusable bag for 50 cents each.
To reach its goal of reducing plastic bag waste globally by 33 percent, Wal-Mart is aiming for a 25 percent reduction from its U.S. stores and a 50 percent reduction from its international operations.