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Walmart to replace plastic mailing envelopes with recyclable paper: 'Proud of the efforts we've made'

"I think all shipping companies are embracing [this]."

"I think all shipping companies are embracing [this]."

Photo Credit: iStock

Walmart just took a big step forward in its mission to use less plastic.

The retail giant has eliminated more than 2,000 tons of single-use plastic by replacing plastic e-commerce mailers with recyclable paper versions, according to GreenBiz. That's a whole lot of plastic kept out of landfills.

The switch, which Walmart pledged to make by June 2023, impacts around 65 million bags mailed out each year in the United States alone. By the end of its 2024 fiscal year, Walmart will use paper mailers for all Walmart.com orders, including those fulfilled by marketplace sellers using Walmart's services.

This plastic-to-paper swap is great news for Walmart shoppers and the planet. Lightweight, recyclable paper mailers mean less waste ending up in the trash. They're also easier to dispose of responsibly, helping busy families avoid the "wishcycling" trap of tossing plastics in the recycling bin and hoping for the best.

What's more, Walmart is nixing extra packaging across its empire to save shoppers money while cutting back on materials. Per GreenBiz, the company has introduced "right-sizing" equipment in about half its U.S. fulfillment centers so far, custom-fitting boxes to their contents. That means online purchases arrive with less air and fluff and more of what you actually ordered.

The retailer aims to expand that initiative to more fulfillment centers over the coming months and years.

Combined with Walmart's new opt-out option for plastic bags on grocery pickup orders and changes to plastic bag policies in many stores, these behind-the-scenes changes add up to a big environmental win. When it comes to single-use plastics, a little less here and there makes a huge difference everywhere, and supporting eco-friendly initiatives like this by brands you love goes a long way. 

"I'm proud of the efforts we've made and will continue to make as we keep regeneration at the forefront of delivery," said Jennifer McKeehan, senior vice president of End-to-End Delivery at Walmart U.S.

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"I think all shipping companies are embracing right-sizing to reduce costs, which then leads to reductions in emissions," Paul Foulkes-Arellano, founder of Circuthon Consulting, told GreenBiz

Now that's the kind of trickle-down effect we can all get behind.

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