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Walmart is making a huge change to how customers check out in its stores — here's what to know before going

The move comes as other states have recently banned or placed taxes on the use of plastic bags.

Walmart Single-use plastic bags

Photo Credit: iStock

Retail giant Walmart has taken a major step by removing single-use plastic and paper bags at more than 100 of its stores.

The move comes as other states have recently banned or placed taxes on the use of plastic bags. California, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maine, New York, Oregon, and Vermont have all enacted some form of restriction on them. Colorado will join the list in 2024, and more states are likely to follow.

Restricting — or outright eliminating — single-use plastic bags at any level is a major step for companies and governments. Plastic bags especially wreak havoc on all kinds of animal populations. 

Animals often mistake them for food and ingest them, which frequently causes life-ending injuries. Additionally, before they can break down fully (a process that takes thousands of years), they may break down into microplastics, where they can end up inside the bodies of animals and humans alike.

Walmart itself isn't exactly known for its positive ecological impact (especially when it comes to the polluting gases created by all of its overseas shipping), but this is definitely a step in the right direction. If Walmart decides to expand this to all of its nearly 11,000 stores, the effect on the environment would be immediate. 

And, as long as local bans on single-use plastics motivate these kinds of decisions, continuing to put the pressure on state-level politicians to restrict them will likely hasten their removal from other stores and retailers as well.

If you happen to live near one of the Walmart stores in Colorado, Connecticut, New York, Maine, New Jersey, or Vermont, where the new policy is taking place, be sure to bring your own reusable grocery bags. They can be purchased in select Walmart stores at a low cost, but it's cheaper and better for the plant to bring the ones you already own — and to use them for as long as possible.

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