Environment » Waste » Plastic Bag Initiative

Plastic Bag Initiative

In 2008, we made a commitment to reduce the plastic shopping bag waste at our stores around the world by an average of 33 percent per store by 2013 using a 2007 baseline. If we achieve this goal, we could reduce our plastic bag waste by the equivalent of 9 billion bags, avoid producing 290,000 metric tons of greenhouse gases and prevent consuming the equivalent of 678,000 barrels of oil every year. By giving out fewer plastic bags, offering reusable ones and helping our customers recycle their existing bags, we expect to eliminate more than 135 million pounds of plastic shopping bag waste globally. Many of our international markets are already making progress in reducing their plastic bag waste. Click here to learn more about our plastic shopping bag waste reduction goal.



In 2008, Wal-Mart Canada reduced the size and gauge of plastic shopping bags to save an estimated 2 million pounds of plastic resin in one year. For those customers who prefer plastic bags, Wal-Mart Canada will recycle returned plastic shopping bags from any retailer.


In the past two years, Wal-Mart Argentina has seen a 20 percent reduction in plastic bag use through improved cashier training promoting a "five items per bag" goal.


In November 2008, Brazil launched a pilot project that gave customers a $0.03 USD discount for every plastic bag they didn't use. The project has been a great success, and in the first two months of the project, customers avoided consuming more than 1 million plastic bags.

To add to their efforts to reduce plastic use among customers, Wal-Mart Brazil has introduced the lowest-priced reusable bag among retailers in Brazil at R$2.50 ($1.13 USD). They have sold more than 1 million of these reusable bags since the launch.

Central America

In Central America, our stores have implemented a number of standardization measures to achieve a 10 percent reduction in plastic bag weight.

Reusable Bags

We're also encouraging our customers to use items such as reusable shopping bags to reduce their waste.


Central America

In December 2008, Wal-Mart Central America introduced reusable bags into its stores.


Chile's D&S stores are the first grocery retailer in Chile to offer reusable bags.


In April 2008 Wal-Mart de Mexico introduced reusable bags and in early September reduced the price by one-third.

United States

In October 2007, we started selling reusable bags at Sam's Club and Walmart stores in the U.S. In 2008, we expanded our reusable bag selection at Walmart stores to include two bags, a black bag and a blue bag, which are both made out of recycled materials and can be recycled when they wear out. The reusable bags can eliminate the use of 75 to 100 plastic shopping bags over their lifetime. The Sam's Club bags are slightly larger, capable of carrying up to 50 pounds and can also be recycled once they wear out.



In China, Wal-Mart offers 15 types of reusable bags.


In Japan, our Seiyu stores began the Hummingbird Campaign to encourage customers to reduce plastic bag consumption. As part of this campaign, Seiyu has encouraged customers to use their bring-your-own bags or "My Bag" available at all Seiyu stores, which features the Hummingbird Campaign logo. Now, approximately 45 percent of Seiyu customers use their own reusable bags.


United Kingdom

In order to encourage customers to bring and use reusable bags, ASDA removed single-use plastic carrier bags from view at all of its checkouts. They were the first major supermarket retailer in the U.K. to do this. Now, associates ask customers if they are reusing bags, and will only provide a single-use bag to the customer if asked. This change has contributed to a more than 30 percent reduction of plastic bags used in ASDA stores since June 2008.