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Walmart Canada to charge for plastic bags

Walmart Canada this week announced that beginning February 9, 2016, it will no longer offer free plastic bags to customers in an effort to encourage the use of reusable bags and ultimately divert plastic film from the landfills. The first location to implement the change will be in British Columbia with other stores to follow over the coming months. Reusable bags will be on hand for shoppers for a discounted rate of 25 cents. Walmart will continue to offer plastic bags for five cents per bag to customers who request them.

Walmart Canada this week announced that beginning February 9, 2016, it will no longer offer free plastic bags to customers in an effort to encourage the use of reusable bags and ultimately divert plastic film from the landfills. The first location to implement the change will be in British Columbia with other stores to follow over the coming months.

Reusable bags will be on hand for shoppers for a discounted rate of 25 cents. Walmart will continue to offer plastic bags for five cents per bag to customers who request them.

25 cent reusable bag.
"We recognize we are asking our customers to change their shopping practices, but we strongly believe that removing plastic film from our waste stream is imperative to reaching our goal of zero waste and will encourage our customers to broaden their already existing waste-reduction efforts," said Lee Tappenden, Chief Operations Officer at Walmart Canada. "We know from our experience in other international markets that an incentive in the form of a fee to encourage customers to adopt reusable bags reduces single-use plastic bags by more than 50%. Similar programs here in Canada have reported comparable successes."

The retail giant said some of the proceeds from the five cent charge will be allocated towards supporting plastic film recycling initiatives. The company is currently collaborating with suppliers to discover new ways to remove plastic from its packaging processes.

"Recent internal research has identified that our customers feel we use too many plastic bags and that the reduction and elimination of plastic bags are the responsibility of both consumers and retailers," said Tappenden. "While we recognize our ultimate goal of eliminating plastic film from our operations altogether won't happen overnight, we believe our customers are open to supporting this goal by switching to reusable bags."

Walmart Canada has 397 stores and serves more than 1.2 million shoppers per day.

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