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Walmart bag policy changes

Business, Headlines

a highway seen through a parking lot

Customers in Walmart may soon have to ask for plastic bags due to changes in the single-use plastic bag ban voted into legislation in July.

Recently, social media posts announced that the Milford and Camden Walmart stores no longer offered bags to their customers at checkout. This change seemed to occur overnight as both stores had been providing the thicker, reusable bags that met the original legislation banning one-use plastic bags in Delaware.

“Although we have not provided an official release on the matter, bags will still be available at our Delaware Walmart locations,” Tyler Thomas with Media Relations at Walmart, said. “Customers will have to ask for the bags as they will not be available at the checkout. Delaware just recently passed a new law where our current bags are no longer compliant which means we cannot provide them automatically to customers.” Thomas did not indicate whether there would be a charge for the bags should a customer request them.

However, as of Friday, July 30, bags were available to customers at all checkouts in Milford.

In July, the Delaware General Assembly closed a loophole that allowed some retailers to provide thicker plastic bags that were designed to be reusable. However, consumers were not reusing the bags which led to changes in the law. The law now reads that reusable bags are those made of durable fabric with stitched handles. Paper bags are also permitted under the law as they are fully recyclable. The new law does not become fully effective until July 1, 2022.

According to Walmart’s corporate website, the company has worked with environmental groups to address the single-use plastic bag problem. The Beyond the Bag Initiative which had Walmart partnering with Target and CVS Health through Closed Loop Partners, issued a challenge around the globe to find solutions to the plastic bag problem.

“Upon review by retail partners, environmental advisors and subject matter experts, we are thrilled to share that what began with more than 450 submissions ultimately became nine winners,” Walmart’s website states. “The winners will receive a portion of $1 million in non-equity funding and are eligible for additional funding and support to help with testing, piloting and scaling efforts. We look forward to piloting some of the winning solutions.”

Some of the winning designs included seaweed-derived replacements for single-use bags, paper bags that were strong, light and stretchable as well as bags created from agricultural waste.

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