WASHINGTON — Walmart is eliminating thousands of products, including water purification systems, and cutting back on suppliers as the retailer attempts to move away from the use of plastic bags and other reusable products.
The company has been buying up the raw materials for its reusable water purifying equipment at an estimated cost of $3.8 billion.
It also is reducing the number of suppliers who are allowed to sell to Walmart.
The company says it will use the savings to buy new water purifications equipment.
The new equipment would include a system that would remove up to 70 pounds of plastic each year from water, as well as microfiber filters and water purifyors that can be used for drinking, cooking, washing dishes and cleaning dishes.
Walmart said the cost savings would not be made up by the increased cost of the machines, but would come from the reduced costs of producing and shipping the equipment.
In a statement, Walmart said it is working with suppliers to reduce their prices and increase efficiency.
The new equipment will cost about $100 per unit, Walmart says.
Walmart said it expects to eliminate the use and production of plastic water purifiesers and other waste-based equipment, including those for washing dishes, in 2019.
The automaker said the water purificators are used in more than 2.5 billion homes worldwide.
Walton Waters, the parent company of Walmart, said the equipment will be sold to suppliers, but no exact date has been set for when it will be available for purchase.
The technology is expected to be available in about 10 years, Walmart spokeswoman Beth Moulton-Mills said.