Shoppers in several Wegmans stores in Northern Virginia are encouraged to bring reusable bags as local bans on plastic bags take effect.
Starting New Year’s Day, Wegmans customers in Fredericksburg, Va., will not bring home their groceries in single-use plastic bags. The retailer is removing those bags from that store, as it has with other locations in Fairfax County and Richmond, Va., due to local plastic bag bans.
Shoppers can pay five cents a bag for paper grocery bags, a fee that Wegmans will in turn donate back to a Fredericksburg-area food bank. Reusable shopping bags are encouraged as a way to reduce plastic waste that can negatively impact the environment. Wegmans’ approach aligns with what it has in place in other markets where plastic bag legislation exists, most notably in New York State.
“We’ve always understood the need to reduce single-use grocery bags,” said Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans packaging, energy, and sustainability merchant. “By eliminating plastic bags and adding a charge for each paper bag, our hope is to incentivize the adoption of reusable bags, an approach that has proven successful for us in New York State and Richmond.”
Also on Jan. 1, businesses on the other side of the country are responding to a ban on single use plastic serviceware. Starting this weekend, foodservice operators in Washington state must abide by a new law that restricts the use of plastic utensils, cocktail picks/stirrers, straws and condiment cups and packets. A similar ban will take effect on the island of Maui in Hawaii as 2022 begins.
Family-owned Wegmans operates 106 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland and Massachusetts. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is No. 35 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.