Walmart launches pilot program for customers to recycle reusable shopping bags

Walmart Canada is launching a national pilot program for customers to recycle their reusable shopping bags.

Under the plan, customers will be able send in their extra or damaged Walmart reusable blue shopping bags to TerraCycle who will either wash and donate them to charity partners, including Food Banks Canada, or recycle them.

Recycled bags will be processed into raw materials that can be used to make things like shipping pallets and outdoor furniture, Walmart said.

"This first-of-its-kind national recycling pilot program will allow Canadians to give their excess or damaged reusable blue bags a second life, free of charge, preventing them from taking up space at home or heading to landfill," Walmart Canada senior manager of sustainability Jennifer Barbazza said in the release.

Customers looking to participate can sign up for the program on TerraCycle's website.

According to TerraCycle, bags can be sent in a box or shipping envelope — you need a minimum of five bags for a shipment — and the program provides a free shipping label.

The web page for the program notes that enrolment limits apply, and if the program is full, customers will be added to a wait-list.

Canada banned single-use plastic shopping bags in December 2022, along with other single-use plastic items including straws and cutlery.

However, Walmart Canada stopped offering plastic bags in April that year, saying the change would help prevent more than 680 million plastic bags from entering circulation every year.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 15, 2024.

The Canadian Press