ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Wegmans announced it will remove single-use plastic grocery bags from all its New York state stores starting Monday, January 27.
The removal comes ahead of a state ban that takes effect on March 1.
According to a statement, Wegmans’ goal is to shift all customers to reusable bags.
“I think it’s great, I think a lot of other places will follow their lead,” Wegmans customer Lauren Schafer said.
“I just went shopping with my reusable bag so I started a little bit early too, but I think it’s great.”
At stores where the county or municipality choose not to institute a 5-cent fee for paper bags, Wegmans will charge 5 cent per bag. The amount collected will be donated to the local food bank in each region.
“By adding a charge for each paper bag, our hope it to incentive the adoption of reusable bags, and in time, achieve our goal of eliminating all single-use bags,” Wegmans packaging and sustainability manager Jason Wadsworth in a statement.
“On average today, 20% of the bags used across all Wegmans stores are reusable. However, at our pilot stores in Corning and Ithaca, we’ve flipped that statistic so that only 20% of the bags used are single-use bags.”
“I have a pet so I use it for that,” Wegmans customer Paul Sanderson said referring to the plastic bags.
“But for the kids — for the future we obviously need to get away from plastic bags.”
Wegmans first introduced reusable bags in 2007. According to a statement, Wegmans issued a company wide survey of its customers and found that 95% already own at least one reusable bag and 87% have three or more.