Wegmans gets head start on plastic bag ban, but statewide law has some exemptions

Local News

ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Despite the news leading up to the change — many Wegmans customers were surprised to find out Monday that paper or plastic was not an option. The store no longer offering plastic bags for free to take groceries home. 

This is an early take on a statewide ban on plastic carryout bags that takes into effect March 1. 

“I could see that it was coming,” said Katie Mulbey, who has been using reusable bags for ten years. “Plastic bags have been getting more unpopular from an environmental standpoint.” 

Another customer, Coleen Colon uses them for her cats. She had collected two large bins full of the bags and is sad to see them go. 

The rule is for “Any person required to collect tax” according to the New York State DEC. 

Enid Cardinal is the senior advisor to the president for strategic planning and sustainability at RIT and says all bags require energy to make, but reusable bags can be used for years. 

“You want people to use a re-usable bag and keep re-using it,” said Cardinal, “Because that’s going to keep it out of the environment.” She also said this was a step in the right direction and gave kudos to Wegmans for getting ahead of the game. 

Management also comes into contact with plastic bags that were wrongly recycled into curbside recycling. They can jam the system and lead to big losses in productivity. Plastic film needs to be recycled at grocery stores where there are receptacles to take them by state law. 

Wegmans is selling re-useable bags for 99 cents and paper bags for 5 cents. Paper bag sales are put toward local food banks according to Jason Wadsworth. 

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