Over the past few years, numerous local governments have passed plastic bag bans nationwide. News of prohibitions usually only affects local establishments. However, Wegmans made the decision to go further with the concept and began advancing a company-wide ban.
Over ten years ago, efforts began to outlaw single-use plastic bags in grocery stores. When California passed the first state-wide law of its sort in 2014, it caused a stir in the retail sector. Since then, laws prohibiting single-use plastic bags have been approved in nine additional states.
Maine, California, Vermont, Connecticut, Oregon, New York, New Jersey, Hawaii, and Delaware are some of those states. Each regulation has somewhat different standards and levies a small price for additional paper bags. While not unique, these state-wide restrictions.
Nationwide, numerous counties and cities have passed laws of a similar nature. However, Wegmans’ decision to outlaw plastic bags was motivated by one particularly significant source: New York. It was inspired by just one law, according to Jason Wadsworth, category merchant for packaging, energy, and sustainability at the grocery store. In order to prepare for the state’s plastic bag ban, he said, “We started on this road in 2019 when we set out to eradicate plastic bags in our New York State locations. Although a lot has transpired in the past three years, our early success in New York inspired us to press on with our mission to eliminate plastic bags by the end of 2022. The good news is that Wegmans achieved its objective early.
Late in September, the firm achieved its goal of eliminating plastic bags from all of its facilities. The last places that needed to migrate were its 18 locations in Pennsylvania. On September 22, the changeover was completed.
If a client forgets or doesn’t have their reusable bags, Wegmans stores will all provide paper bags. But there’s a problem. There will be a $.05 charge for each paper bag.
The corporation will contribute the money made from the sale of paper bags to the relevant regional United Way chapter, according to WGAL News. The requirement for Pennsylvania consumers to carry their own storage device (reusable bag, box, tote, or hands) to store their food has thus been implemented. Or they may buy a paper bag knowing that the money would benefit a good cause.
Wegmans has accumulated reliable evidence to support the decision since eliminating plastic bags at the majority of its sites nationally. The business discovered that 20% to 25% of sales are made using paper bags. However, for the majority of transactions, shoppers choose to carry their items out by hand or use reusable bags.
The grocer’s leadership team counts these numbers as a success. And they are thrilled to achieve their goal ahead of schedule. Wadsworth said, “Completing our transition out of single-use plastic bags across the company is a big celebration as we continue to expand our sustainability efforts and focus on doing what’s right for the environment.”
And that latter point is what is most important to many. Such plastic bag bans serve as an educational moment for consumers. They learn about the impact of plastic on our environment and help keep millions of pounds of plastic trash from ending up in landfills.