Paper or plastic? Major change will affect all online Walmart orders
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(WHNT) — Millions of American families utilize the convenience of the superstore’s online grocery shopping pickup and delivery during their hectic lives, but an upcoming change is expected to affect those orders.

On Thursday, June 1, Walmart announced plans to eliminate over 2,000 tons of plastic by transitioning from single-use plastic bags to paper bag mailers — but is leaving the decision in the hands of customers.

According to the chain, cutting down on waste is an effort to help create a more sustainable “omnichannel fulfillment network,” and will give customers the option to opt-out of plastic bags for online orders.

Customers will have the option to choose from recyclable paper mailers, right-sizing cardboard box packaging, which Walmart says will consolidate shipping on eCommerce orders and reduce mileage and delivery times.

Right-size packaging is an approach Walmart is taking advantage of that helps create a package custom fitted to a customer’s order, eliminating any unused space in the box. The technology will reduce the need for filler by 60% while reducing waste caused by oversized boxes by as much as 26%, making a “better unboxing experience for customers.”

Shoppers will also be able to request for multiple items to be consolidated into fewer boxes, which is expected to reduce waste and the number of shipments.

“Moving forward, nearly all orders shipped in plastic mailers from fulfillment centers, stores and marketplace items shipped with Walmart Fulfillment Services, will arrive in recyclable paper bag mailers,” the company said. “This transition is expected to eliminate 65 million plastic bag mailers or more than 2,000 tons of plastic from circulation in the U.S. by the end of the current fiscal year.”

The big-box chain says that early testing of this measure showed “promising adoption rates” in its goal to eliminate millions of plastic bags each year.

AI technology will also be used to identify when an item bought online can be fulfilled from a store rather than a fulfillment center, which is also expected to reduce the number of miles driven and boxes used for shipping.

Walmart expects to put the plan into effect at every store across the nation by the end of 2023.

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