Walmart Takes Steps Toward Reducing Plastic Waste in B2B E-Commerce

by | Jun 2, 2023

A white Walmart delivery man wearing a blue shirt pushes a blue cart up a driveway.

(Credit: Walmart)

Walmart, one of the world’s largest retailers, is implementing measures to reduce packaging waste, especially plastic, associated with online orders. By adopting these sustainable practices, Walmart aims to empower its business-to-business e-commerce customers to make eco-friendly choices and add to their own sustainability strategies.

The key initiatives Walmart has undertaken include: reducing waste, streamlining packaging, and enhancing its last-mile delivery network.

Walmart Promotes Sustainability in B2B E-Commerce

One of the key initiatives for Walmart is the transition from plastic to recyclable paper mailers. Recognizing the environmental impact of plastic waste, Walmart aims to eliminate 65 million plastic bag mailers, equivalent to over 2,000 tons of plastic waste, from circulation in the U.S. by the end of the year. By adopting recyclable paper mailers, Walmart enables its B2B customers to align their shipping practices with sustainable values.

In addition to reducing plastic waste, Walmart is giving customers the option to opt out of single-use plastic bags for online pickup orders. Preliminary tests have shown promising adoption rates, and once this initiative is fully rolled out nationwide, it has the potential to eliminate millions of single-use bags each year. By helping customers to choose reusable bags, Walmart encourages active participation in waste reduction efforts.

Eliminating Oversized Packaging

To address the issue of oversized packaging, Walmart is implementing right-sized packaging technology in approximately half of its fulfillment network. By customizing packages to fit the contents precisely, this technology reduces filler usage by 60% and minimizes waste caused by oversized boxes by up to 26%. 

Even more, Walmart encourages customers to request consolidating multiple items into fewer boxes, which reduces both packaging waste and the number of shipments. 

Walmart is also streamlining its last-mile delivery network to improve efficiency and reduce environmental impact. By utilizing applied AI, the company identifies opportunities to fulfill orders from nearby stores instead of fulfillment centers. This approach reduces the number of miles driven and the number of boxes used for shipping. Walmart leverages its extensive store network and electric vans for delivery, aligning with its commitment to achieving zero emissions by 2040.

With these changes, Walmart aims to influence B2B customers to make more sustainable choices.

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