Is Walmart banning plastic and other bags at all its locations on July 1, 2021? No, there's no plan for a corporation-wide move to go "bagless," according to a Walmart spokesperson. However, single-use plastic bags are banned in some states, and all retail stores including Walmart are required to follow those bans. Maine is banning the use of single-use plastic bags on July 1, 2021, and Walmart will comply with that order.
The claim appeared in a Facebook post (archived here) published on June 8, 2021. The post read:
Starting July 1st we are going Bagless at every walmart. (B.Y.O.😎 bring your own bags and remember we just work here so try to hold back your frustration just a bit:)
This is what the post looked like on Facebook on June 9, 2021:
(Source: Facebook screenshot taken on Wed Jun 9 17:10:10 2021 UTC)
Walmart's bagless program starting on July 1, 2021, would only apply to Maine, which is enforcing a single-use plastic bag ban at all its retail stores. Although the Maine ban was originally set to take effect on April 22, 2020, it was delayed to July 1, 2021, due to the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Other Walmart locations do have single-use plastic bag bans in place. Walmart locations in Vermont went bagless on February 15, 2021, as a pilot program. The move fell in line with Vermont's ban on single-use plastic bags, which took effect on July 1, 2020. Walmart locations in Mexico are also going plastic bagless, with more than 72% of Mexican locations having stopped offering plastic bags by the end of December 2020. Additionally, the company has expanded its bagless online grocery pickup service to more than 80 stores in New York and Maine.
In an email to Lead Stories on Walmart on June 10, 2021, Charles Crowson, director of WMT corporate communications, confirmed:
... Walmart is converting all Maine stores to bagless. This decision only further demonstrates the company's commitment to advancing sustainable initiatives that support people and the environment and to its ongoing efforts to target zero emissions in its global operations by 2040. A similar initiative began in Vermont four months ago and was well-received by customers there. However, there isn't a national rollout planned at this time.
After follow-up from Lead Stories regarding other states that have plastic bag bans, Crowson said:
Walmart adheres to all state bag bans, and provides the approved bag type as allowed in each state's specific ban. The company's bagless initiative (currently in place in VT and ME) goes one step further than a respective state ban, instructing customers to use reusable bags vs paper or a thicker plastic.
The user who posted the claim is listed as working at a Georgia Walmart and living in Georgia. Regarding bagless initiatives in Georgia, Crowson said in the same follow-up email:
There is no Walmart-led bagless initiative underway in Georgia.
Additionally, after conducting Google searches of the Walmart website with the terms "single-use plastic bags" and "going bagless," Lead Stories could not find any evidence that additional locations were enforcing such measures.