Target: Greg Foran, President and CEO of Walmart U.S.
Goal: Urge Walmart to expand its Canadian stores’ plastic bag ban to the U.S. in an effort to curtail their damaging impact on our environment.
The United States uses roughly 100 billion plastic bags per year. These bags take about 1,000 years to degrade in the country’s landfills. Unfortunately, many plastic bags do not even make it to the landfill. Instead, they end up in our oceans, tangled in trees, and littered along green spaces. In one study introduced at the World Economic Forum, it has been estimated that the world’s oceans will have more weight in plastic bags than they do in fish by the year 2050.
Other nations have taken steps to ban plastic bags. In England, consumers are charged 5p (about seven cents) per bag. Plastic bag use in the country is now down by 6 billion bags. One major retailer making an effort to enact a similar practice is Walmart Canada. Starting in February 2016, shoppers were charged five cents per plastic bag. Walmart Canada hoped such an action would limit the use of plastic bags in its stores and lead to the company’s goal of zero waste.
However, Walmart U.S. has enacted no such policy. The biggest retailer in the United States, Walmart contributes significantly to plastic bag waste. While reusable bags are sold in the stores and new training techniques were implemented in order for baggers to more effectively package goods, such steps are not enough. However, if the company were to charge a few cents for bags as they do in Canada, more shoppers may be inclined to use reusable, fabric bags that create less of the environmental damage plastic bags do.
As seen in England, a simple fee on the use of plastic bags has created more than an 85 percent decrease in their use by major retailers. Not only is the environment cleaner, but the English government predicts it will save £60 million (nearly $80 million) in cleanup costs.
The same results are entirely possible in the United States and Walmart could lead the change for a cleaner environment by expanding its Canadian bag ban. A few cents may be inconvenient and annoying at first, but it is a small price to pay for ensuring a safer, cleaner environment for all living things. Sign the petition below to show your support for Walmart’s extension of their bag ban to stores in the United States.
Dear Mr. Foran,
American citizens use over 100 billion plastic bags annually. They have become a common staple of the American landscape. They drift past in streams and rivers, float on top of ocean waves, entangle themselves in trees, and blow through green fields. The plastic bags that do make it into the nation’s landfills take about 1,000 years to properly disintegrate. As Walmart is the largest retailer in the United States, it contributes significantly to this waste and environmental degradation.
However, in February 2016, Walmart Canada adopted a bag ban that charged customers for their use of plastic bags. As such efforts in other nations have shown, charging for plastic bags significantly reduces their use and waste. I applaud Walmart Canada’s efforts to curtail such plastic bag waste and ask that steps be taken to introduce this ban in the company’s United States stores.
As a major retailer, Walmart would be setting an example for other national companies that the overabundant use of plastic bags and the disregard for their negative environmental impact is unacceptable. Please take action to see that the Walmart Canada plastic bag ban be expanded across the border so that the American landscape becomes a little cleaner and the lives of all living things a little better in the process.
[Your Name Here]
Photo credit: Mike Mozart