My online grocery shopping and curbside pickup with Walmart is pretty delightful except for one thing: all the plastic bags. I’m not sure if it’s corporate policy or what, but it seems like Walmart’s pick-and-pack employees give just about every item its own bag. The result is a ton of waste (and just as much guilt).
Perhaps Walmart should look into the Greentote, a new type of reusable and recyclable cardboard packaging from DS Smith. The Greentote is basically an open ended box, but, as the press announcement last week described, it is also “reusable, moisture-resistant, modular, 100% recyclable container made from renewable resources.”
The Greentote comes in two sizes, and DS Smith said it can hold more than three times the number of groceries than plastic bags. Plus, Greentotes can interlock with one another to ensure food safety during travel.
The press release didn’t say how much Greentotes cost, or whether they are strictly B2B or have a consumer sales component, but they are presumably more expensive than plastic bags. Unlike plastic bags, however, Greentotes, which are fully recyclable, won’t pile up in your home or end up in waterways. Additionally, a store opting to reuse Greentotes would also need to establish a new workflow to reincorporate returned boxes, rather than just dumping single-use bags into the world.
While cost will undoubtedly be a huge determining factor in adoption of recyclable containers like Greentote, Walmart, at least, seems to be admitting that it has a plastic bag problem. In a corporate blog post last week, Walmart announced nine winners of its “Beyond the Bag” innovation challenge and that Walmart Mexico y Centroamerica and one of its Vermont locations will go bagless (h/t Grocery Dive).
Hopefully these pilot programs prove successful, and my curbside pickup will feel a little less guilt-ridden.