Walmart announced a series of initiatives aimed at reducing waste and boosting the sustainability of its online and omnichannel business, including shifting nearly all orders currently shipped in plastic mailers to recyclable paper bag mailers.
According to the company, the move to paper mailers is expected to eliminate more than 2,000 tons of plastic from circulation in the U.S. by the end of the current fiscal year.
Additional sustainable packaging-focused initiatives include enabling customers picking up online orders to opt out of single-use plastic bags, and allowing customers to request that multiple items in online orders be consolidated into fewer boxes in order to reduce waste and the number of shipments.
Walmart also announced that it is transitioning to “right-sized packaging technology” in approximately half of its network, which creates a package that is custom fit to customers’ orders. According to the company, reduces the waste caused by oversized boxes by as much as 26%.
Karisa Sprague, Senior Vice President, Fulfillment Network Operations, Walmart U.S., said:
“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.”
In addition to the packaging-focused measures, Walmart also outlined initiatives aimed at increasing last-mile delivery efficiency, using AI to identify if online orders can be fulfilled from stores instead of fulfillment centers in order to reduce miles driven and the number of boxes used for shipping, combining multiple orders on single delivery routes, and using electric vans for delivery.
Jennifer McKeehan, Senior Vice President of End-to-End Delivery at Walmart U.S., said:
“With a Walmart store located within 10 miles of 90% of the U.S. 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. I’m proud of the efforts we’ve made and will continue to make as we keep regeneration at the forefront of delivery.”