Big Y to Boot Plastic Bags at Checkout in August
Big Y Foods Inc. will discontinue single-use plastic bags at the checkouts from its 80-plus supermarkets and specialty stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut as of Aug. 1. To help cushion the blow for shoppers who haven’t yet switched to more eco-friendly options, the Springfield, Mass.-based grocer will offer discounts on reusable bags throughout August.
Big Y has been complying with single-use plastic bag bans in several Massachusetts communities since 2014. Because of recent changes to laws in various towns across its New England market area, however, the company has moved up its original 2020 timeline to eliminate single-use plastic bags at checkouts at all of its locations, with the aim of streamlining operations and further support sustainability.
By removing single-use plastic bags from its checkouts, and encouraging shoppers to use reusable bags for their groceries, Big Y and its customers can eliminate the 100 million plastic bags that were previously distributed annually by the grocer, which has already discontinued single-use plastic bags at its Big Y Express gas and convenience locations and its Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors store.
“At Big Y, beyond providing great quality, great prices and great customer service, we also try to be smart about the resources and energy we use,” said Richard D. Bossie, the retailer’s SVP of operations and customer experience. “By working with our shoppers, we can further reduce consumption to make a difference in and around the tight-knit communities that we serve across New England.”
Customers can purchase a range of reusable bags in several designs, including university logos, local sports icons and nautical themes, and different sizes by the checkout counters. For those who don’t bring their own bags, Big Y will start charging them a 10-cent charge per paper bag in August, in an effort to promote the use of reusable bags instead of paper, which also causes harm to the environment.
The phasing out of single-use plastic bags is part of Big Y’s Green Initiative, which has enabled it to reduce its total energy consumption by more than 5 million kilowatt-hours over the past three years.
Among other food retailers, Cincinnati-based Kroger has pledged to eliminate single-use plastic bags by 2025 as part of its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste sustainability program, and its Bellevue, Wash.-based QFC banner has already become the first division in the company to do so.
One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, family-owned and –operated Big Y employs more than 11,000 associates, and is No. 36 on Progressive Grocer’s 2019 Super 50 list of the top grocers in the United States, while Kroger is No. 2.