Walmart, the world’s largest company by revenue and largest US grocery retailer, has agreed to cut its use of virgin plastic by 2025.
Citing new data on the growing plastic pollution problem, As You Sow filed shareholder proposals with 10 large consumer goods companies and retailers for 2021, including Walmart, calling for commitments to cut use of plastic packaging. Walmart will disclose the size of a virgin plastic reduction goal later in 2021. The company used 1.2 million metric tons of plastic packaging in its private brands sales in 2019, according to data submitted to the New Plastics Economy Global Commitment initiative.
In addition to Walmart, Keurig Dr Pepper will cut use of virgin plastic 20% by 2025. Mondelez committed to a 5% absolute reduction in virgin plastic, including a 25% cut in virgin plastic in its rigid plastic packaging. Research on the scope of commitments at PepsiCo, Target, and Walmart are still being finalized and will be disclosed later this year.
The largest cut in overall plastic use to date by a major consumer goods company was a 2019 commitment by Unilever to cut virgin plastic use by 50%, including a total elimination of 100,000 tons of plastic packaging by 2025.
Two shareholder proposals on cuts in plastic use are still pending and set for a shareholder vote at Amazon on May 26 and Kroger in June.