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Walmart believes taking plastic mailers out of the equation will eliminate more than 2,000 tons of plastic by the end of the fiscal year.

Walmart will stop sending plastic mailers; will also reduce cardboard from online orders

The retailer is also continuing to ban single-use plastic bags in some states

Walmart is set to become less dependent on plastic.
In a recent announcement, the retail giant said it will reduce its  plastic use in a variety of ways, including using recyclable paper bag mailers (vs. plastic) as well as giving shoppers the option to avoid using plastic bags for online pickup orders, according to TechCrunch. 

Orders can also be consolidated into fewer boxes.

Walmart believes taking plastic mailers out of the equation will eliminate more than 2,000 tons of plastic by the end of the fiscal year. The environmental pivot will only be executed on Walmart online orders from stores and fulfillment centers and those which go through Walmart Fulfillment Services. 

Third-party sellers also can avoid plastic, but are not required. Walmart said it will not be eliminating plastic from all orders.

Shoppers are also no longer required to use single-use plastic bags with their pickup orders, and following a pilot study Walmart says eliminating the requirement will save millions of single-use bags annually. The option will be rolled out and completed by the end of the year.

Walmart reducing its dependence on single-use bags is not entirely new. The bags are already not offered at the store or online in 10 states. Delaware, Washington, D.C., Oregon, and Washington state were the latest to eliminate plastic. The company says the program is eliminating 2 billion single-use bags each year. 

Plastic is not the only material getting squeezed. In addition to using fewer cardboard boxes for orders, Walmart also is starting to use right-size packaging. About half of its fulfillment network has this technology, which has led to a 60% reduction in the need for filler. AI technologies also are figuring out the best way to deliver online orders, sometimes suggesting actual brick-and-mortar locations to complete a purchase instead of fulfillment centers.

In late May, Walmart opened its first “high-tech” market fulfillment center in Bentonville, Ark.

According to the retailer, the market fulfillment center is built within the store and is powered by a proprietary storage and retrieval system named “Alphabot.” Walmart said it believes that connecting its store and supply chain assets end to end will ultimately “transform fulfillment.”

The center will increase the number of orders the store is able to fill in a given day. When a pilot system was launched in Salem, N.H., in 2020, Walmart said the Alphabot tech could process orders 10 times faster than humans. The pilot allowed tweaks to be made to the market fulfillment center prior to its official debut in Bentonville.


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