Walmart Testing Plastic Bag-Less Stores In California

When we posted the seemingly simple question last week to Consumerist readers of whether or not plastic shopping bags should be banned, we expected some heated discussion. But even we were surprised to see just how heated — 326 comments at last count! And while we we’ve been busy chatting about the pros and cons, Walmart has been quietly testing a no single-use bag policy at a handful of stores in California.

For the past several months, Big W has been testing a pilot program at three stores in Sacramento and one in Ukiah, where customers can either bring their own bags to shop with or can purchase somewhat reusable polypropylene bags for either $.15 or $.50, depending on the size.

And in several more California stores, Walmart has been giving customers the option of either standard plastic bags or purchasing the poly bags.

The retail whale says it’s all part of their initiative to reduce shopping bag waste by 33% by 2013. Walmart claims that each poly bag sold keeps 75 plastic bags out of circulation.

While most customers have begrudgingly taken to using the poly bags, many gripe that they forget to bring the old ones along when they go back to the store so they have to keep buying new bags each visit.

California is currently the main battleground in the debate on plastic vs. reusable, with the State Assembly considering a bill that would not only ban the use of the bags, but would charge customers $.05 for each paper bag supplied by the store. The city of San Francisco has already issued a ban on the bags.

What would you do if your municipality or your most-frequented store ditched plastic bags? Would you shop elsewhere or adapt to the change?

Walmart Pilots Plastic Bag Charge: Harbinger of Statewide Ban? [FastCompany]