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Walmart Adds Automatic Surcharge On Shopping Bags Amid ‘Scamming’ Controversy

SheFinds 3/29/2023 Alana Valko
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Long gone are the days when you could forget your totes at home. In many states, Walmart no longer provides single-use bags to fulfill your orders as state-enacted bag bans get put in place. In fact, single-use plastic bags are completely banned for Walmart shoppers in New Jersey; not only will they not be providing the bags in-store, but pick-up orders and delivery are forbidden from being fulfilled with single-use bags.

Since the Jersey ban was first enacted a year ago, Walmart provided customers with free reusable bags as shoppers adjusted to the new law. Now, though, the retailer is cracking down—no more freebies, shoppers in Jersey will be charged 42 cents per shopping bag on delivery orders and 10 cents per bag for pickup going forward.

To skirt the bag fees, Walmart suggests bringing your own reusable bags each time you shop. But what about delivery? In New Jersey, the chain will add a 42-cent fee for each bag they deliver your groceries in. If you want to avoid it, you can opt out of the surcharge, but you must leave totes, boxes, bins, or reusable bags at your doorstep, according to their website.

READ MORE: Amazon Is Cheaper For Most Household Items–Except This One At Walmart

A post shared by Hannah Williams (@hannahlilywilliams)

A post shared by Hannah Williams (@hannahlilywilliams)

What Exactly Is “The Bag Ban” In New Jersey?

According to the New Jersey Business Action Center, the law states that “retail stores, grocery stores, and food service businesses may not provide or sell single-use plastic carryout bags and polystyrene foam food service products.” They write, “single-use paper carryout bags are allowed to be provided or sold, except by grocery stores equal to or larger than 2,500 square feet, which may only provide or sell reusable carryout bags,” a line that directly affects Walmart, whose average-sized stores span just over 100,000 square feet. The ban also puts restrictions on plastic straws, which states, “plastic straws may be provided only upon the request of the customer.”

Bag bans have also been enacted in Maine, Vermont, New York, Colorado, and Connecticut. In these states, single-use bags are also not available in Walmart stores or for pickup orders. However, delivery orders can still be fulfilled with paper bags or reusable bags for a fee, meaning you don’t need to remember to leave out boxes and bags on your doorstep like in New Jersey. In all states, single-use bags are still available for certain products, like raw meats and produce, to preserve food safety and prevent contamination.

READ MORE: Walmart Surprises Shoppers By Banning Single-Use Bags In Several States

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Why Doesn’t Walmart Have Plastic Bags?

In response to the growing discussions of climate change, Walmart, which serves over 240 million customers a week, wants to combat the scale of its plastic use and its impact on the environment. According to their website, Walmart states, “the State of New Jersey passed this legislation in response to the growing problem of plastic pollution.” Regarding their policies, they write, “for Walmart, compliance and commitment to the environment are equally important components in our efforts to reduce our dependence on single-use plastic.”

Customers React to Walmart’s Surcharges On Shopping Bags Amid Growing ‘Scams’ Controversy

Amidst the shopping bag bans, the popular supermarket has faced a range of controversies in recent months, including a self-checkout scam, alleged price gouging, and backlash for charging a fee for shopping carts. With inflation causing prices to rise, customers across the globe are growing wary of their trust in the super-chain. With the latest shopping bag fees tacked on for orders in the Golden State, some customers are questioning if this is just another “money-making opportunity” for the chain.

Another Twitter user wrote, “Wth??? We check ourselves out and now pay for bags,” in response to the news. Others are less worried about the shopping bag bans and reusable bag fees and are pleased to see fewer plastic bags circulating. One user on Reddit wrote, “It’s an awesome system. Buy a couple of reusable bags, and use them forever. NY did away with plastic a while ago btw, sucks that all the other states didn’t follow suit.”

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