Walmart Faces Backlash for Switching Packaging Materials
The retailer is switching to new product packaging, which some customers believe is a sign of the company moving in the wrong direction.
By Mohamed Dabo
The retailer is reportedly switching some food packaging from paper to plastic. Credit: Sergei Elagin via Shutterstock.
Walmart, the largest US retailer known for introducing various changes, is now facing criticism from some of its customers.
The company has reportedly started using plastic packaging instead of paper for some of its products, leading shoppers to voice their concerns.
This move has prompted negative feedback and raised questions about the retailer’s sustainability efforts.
Alongside traditional cardboard boxes, the image revealed an option packaged in plastic. Customers expressed disappointment with comments suggesting that the switch from cardboard to plastic is a step in the wrong direction.
This change was not limited to pasta alone; others mentioned witnessing the same shift with Great Value brand saltine crackers.
Potential explanations and Walmart’s sustainability goals
Redditors offered potential reasons for the change. One commenter speculated that it might be due to supplier switches, while another attributed it to paper shortages that arose during the Covid pandemic.
Some hoped that the plastic used might be biodegradable cellophane, offering a more sustainable solution.
Despite the negative feedback and plastic packaging concerns, Walmart has been actively working towards its sustainability goals.
The company aims to achieve 100% recyclable, reusable, or industrially compostable packaging for its private brands. Currently, it has reached 58% progress toward this goal.
Walmart has also taken steps to eliminate single-use plastic and paper bags, opting for more eco-friendly alternatives. For instance, the retailer plans to transition to paper bag mailers for online orders, aiming to reduce more than 2,000t of plastic waste.
Previous legal issues over plastic recycling bags
Although Walmart is making efforts to improve sustainability, it has faced legal challenges related to its plastic policies in the past.
The state of Minnesota recently sued Walmart over its store-brand recycling bags, along with Hefty brand recycling bags from Reynolds Consumer Products, naming both companies as defendants.
The lawsuit alleged that these recycling bags made of low-density polyethylene (LDPE) plastic were misleadingly marketed as recyclable when, in reality, they could not be recycled.
Walmart stated that it does not manufacture these items, putting the responsibility on its suppliers to comply with labeling requirements and applicable laws.
Despite the pushback and legal issues, Walmart’s switch to plastic packaging for certain products has raised concerns among environmentally conscious shoppers and led to questions about the company’s commitment to sustainability.