STORE SPACES

Walmart adding something new to its checkout carousels

BY Marianne Wilson

Walmart is extending its sustainability commitment to its store checkouts.

The discounter announced that for the first time, checkout carousels at its U.S. stores will include reusable bags that will be available to customers for purchase. As part of the launch, Walmart is rolling out a new assortment of reusable bags that are made with post-consumer recycled content.

The new reusable bag initiative will begin rolling out to stores next month and follows a recent announcement by Walmart on a series of plastic waste reduction goals that seek to advance the sustainability of the retailer’s private brand packaging by making it 100% recyclable, reusable or industrially compostable by 2025.

Walmart announced the move at its 2019 sustainability milestone summit, which also featured announcements and updates on several other sustainability initiatives. The company also outlined its progress towards its aspirational goal of being powered by 100% renewable energy – and to power 50% of its operations with renewable energy by the end of 2025.

During the past year, Walmart completed contracts for 136 new solar and wind projects, which will supply the company an additional estimated 2.14 billion kilowatt hours of renewable energy annually – the equivalent electricity usage of over 260,000 homes in a year.

The summit marked the two-year anniversary of a Project Gigaton, a platform in which Walmart is working with suppliers to avoid 1 billion metric tons, a gigaton, of emissions from global value chains by 2030. At the summit, Walmart Canada announced it is joining Project Gigaton, making it Walmart Inc.’s third international market to work with suppliers towards emissions

In other updates from the summit:

• Walmart continues to make progress in its efforts to increase the availability of electric vehicle (EV) charging stations at its stores and clubs across the U.S. As of 2018, Walmart has EV chargers available at retail locations across 29 states.

• Walmart also shared new sustainability goals for apparel and soft home textiles within Walmart U.S. stores, including increasing the use of recycled polyester fiber, setting a goal of using 50% recycled content by 2025 and to source 100% more sustainable cotton.

Also, by 2022, Walmart U.S. stores will source apparel and home textile products only from suppliers working with textile mills that use the Sustainable Apparel Coalition’s Higg Index Facility Environmental Module (FEM) to measure and help improve environmental performance.

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