ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WSYR-TV) — Wegmans will remove all single-use plastic grocery bags from its New York stores and add a 5-cent paper bag fee starting January 27.
The plan to remove the bags follows a “successful” two-store pilot at its Corning and Ithaca stores according to a press release from the grocery chain.
The move comes ahead of a statewide single-use plastic bag ban that takes effect on March 1.
A Wegmans spokesperson said the goal is to shift all customers to reusable bags to solve the environmental challenge posed by single-use plastic grocery bags.
At stores where the county or municipality chooses not to institute a 5-cent fee for paper bags, Wegmans will charge 5 cents per bag. The amount collected from the charge will be donated to the local food bank serving each region, according to the Monday release.
“By adding a charge for each paper bag, our hope is to incentivize the adoption of reusable bags, and in time, achieve our goal of eliminating all single-use bags,” said Jason Wadsworth, Wegman’s packaging and sustainability manager.
Wadsworth added on average, 20% of bags used across all Wegmans stores are reusable. However, following their pilot in Corning and Ithaca, that statistic was flipped.
“We learned a lot from the pilot that will help ensure a smooth transition out of plastic bags in the rest of our New York stores for our customers and employees,” said Wadsworth.
Wegmans first announced in April 2019 that it would eliminate plastic single-use grocery bags ahead of the New York State ban.
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