Wal-Mart to Cut Plastic-Bag Waste by 33%

New York City Wal-Mart Stores Inc. plans to slash its global plastic shopping-bag waste by 33% over the next five years, eliminating more than 135 million lbs. of trash, according to the Associated Press.

If the plan succeeds, the company would cut the equivalent of 9 billion plastic bags from stores each year.

The effort was announced Thursday at the Clinton Global Initiative Annual Meeting in New York and includes a plan to encourage customers to use reusable shopping sacks—including a line of bags that will be available in U.S. stores in October for 50? each—while offering recycling services for the plastic bags already used by customers.

Environmentalists said if the retailer can trim its plastic-bag usage, the action would reduce carbon-dioxide emissions by 290,000 metric tons each year, roughly the equivalent of removing 53,000 cars from the road each year.