ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Starting Wednesday, paper bags are ‘no more’ at Walmart stores across New York State. Customers there will instead need to bring a reusable bag to shop with.
The change, now taking effect in a handful of other states as well, is said to be part of the company’s zero-waste goal by 2025.
The move by Walmart comes just over two years after free plastic bags were banned at stores across New York.
So, what does this mean for the consumer’s future? Neha Sood, assistant director of campus sustainability at RIT, weighed in.
“I think it was inevitable it would happen at some point. There’s no time like right now to eliminate single-use bags. I do think with a company like Walmart making such a big shift, others will look to them to see what they’ve learned. What were some successes, some failures? And then, use that data to evaluate the possibility of adapting similar single-use item bans in their own stores.”
Through Sood’s own research, she says Walmart is among the first retailers to work toward a zero-waste policy within a few years’ time.
The decision, she says, will make waves in reducing the carbon footprint.
“The impact from a carbon footprint is greater for paper bags than it was for plastic bags. They’re heavier and they take more carbon to produce, ship, transport and also throw away,” said Sood.
The ban is not yet applied nationwide to Walmart stores, and only includes a few other states who have followed suit.
“I think reusable solutions are only good as long as we use them appropriately, and I think Walmart seems to have found a way to do that. For a lot of people after months or a year, that becomes a habit, and once we create that good habit, that lasts for us wherever and anywhere we go,” said Sood.
It’s a transition, Sood says, that may be difficult now but will come with reward in the long run.
Meanwhile, a spokesperson for Wegmans tells News 8 the company does not have any plans to eliminate paper bags from New York stores.