Walmart Customers May Have to Pay for Bags Soon — Here’s What You Need to Know

published Mar 23, 2023
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Jan 9, 2020 Mountain View / CA/ USA - People shopping at a Walmart store in south San Francisco bay area
Credit: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Nearly a full year after it was passed, Walmart is officially adopting New Jersey’s ban on single-use plastic bags. The retail giant’s new policy will impact both in-store shoppers and those ordering delivery directly through the Walmart app or website.

Beginning March 28, Walmart will no longer offer single-use paper or plastic bags to shoppers in the states of New Jersey, Maine, Vermont, New York, Colorado, and Connecticut, including pick-up and delivery orders, pursuant to the law passed in Jersey on May 4 of last year. All customers are encouraged to bring their own bags, whether shopping in-store or picking up curbside orders; although customers completing their purchases in-store will be given the opportunity to purchase reusable bags at checkout.

While Walmart has already adopted similar policies in Maine, Vermont, New York, Connecticut, and Colorado, the new policy stands out in that the company will not be providing single-use paper bags for grocery deliveries in New Jersey. Instead, shoppers will be given the option of adding shopping bags to their order for 42 cents per bag.

Alternately, those ordering from home can leave reusable bags, boxes, or bins at the point of delivery to continue receiving contactless delivery. “For Walmart, compliance and commitment to the environment are equally important components in our efforts to reduce our dependence on single-use plastic,” the company’s website explains.

According to the New Jersey Business Action Center, the state’s ban on plastic bags and polystyrene foam food-service products prohibits retail stores, grocery stores, and food-service businesses from providing or selling single-use plastic bags or foam containers. The law still allows stores smaller than 2,500-square feet to use paper bags, which obviously doesn’t apply to Walmart. The law also states that plastic straws are only to be offered if explicitly requested by customers.

Walmart’s single-use bag policy states that, “bags will continue to be used as needed for raw meats/proteins, produce, and chemicals to ensure food safety and prevent cross-contamination,” in all states, including those with plastic bans.

While the remainder of the states have not been affected by Walmart’s new ban, it may only be a matter of time before it’s put into place.