Walmart Canada has announced a milestone commitment, known as Walmart Canada Charter on Plastics, to reduce plastic waste across its operations.
The announcement builds on Walmart’s 2016 commitment to reach 100% recyclable private brand packaging by 2025.
Walmart Canada president and CEO Lee Tappenden said: “Reducing unnecessary plastic waste and increasing plastic recycling are key priorities for Walmart – and for our customers. As the world’s largest retailer and producer of private brand products, we want to use our size and scale to take a leadership role in reducing plastic waste in Canada.”
The company said that it will address plastic waste in Canada using a three-pronged strategy: using less plastic, recycling more plastic, and supporting improvements to the plastic waste reduction system.
The retailer’s milestone commitment includes reduction of check-out plastic bags by a further 50% by 2025, reducing the circulation of check-out bags by approximately one billion over target period.
It also includes elimination of single-use plastic straws and replacing them with paper alternatives by 2020, reducing approximately 35 million plastic straws out of circulation per annum.
The company’s charter on plastics also included achieving 100% recyclable, reusable or compostable packaging for its products and eliminating “hard-to-recycle” PVC and expanded polystyrene packaging from all its products, targeting at least 20% post-consumer recycled content in private brand packaging by 2025.
Tappenden added: “By reducing plastic waste in our operations and our own private brand products and offering viable alternatives to single-use plastics for our customers, we hope to create broader change that extends far beyond Walmart. I’m proud to be making these changes and supporting innovations in the plastics and recycling sectors to help reduce Canada’s plastic waste footprint.”
Walmart Canada’s commitments also included providing customers with more environmentally-friendly alternatives to single-use plastic household products, to use How2Recycle labeling on all its brand products by 2025 and eliminate unnecessary plastic packaging in its own private brand products starting in 2019.
The commitment also emphasized eliminating single-use plastics from cafeterias at company’s corporate offices and distribution centers by the end of 2019.
Canadian Minister of Environment and Climate Change Catherine McKenna said: “Canadians recognize that plastic waste is a major global challenge, which is why we are pushing forward with a Canada-wide zero-plastic-waste strategy. We know that businesses will play an important role in making sure plastics are recycled and reused – not becoming unnecessary waste. It’s inspiring to see Walmart leading change in such an important area.”