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Wegmans Jettisons Plastic Bags in Virginia Stores

Customers in locations impacted by local bans encouraged to bring reusable bags
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
a pile of clothes on a bed
Wegmans is eliminating plastic bags at several of its stores in Virginia ahead of ban implementation.

Wegmans is bagging the use of single-use plastic grocery bags in several of its Virginia locations in response to a local ban that goes into effect on Jan. 1. Although the legislation allows retailers to continue to offer plastic bags at a charge of five cents per bag, the retailer is making the move for full elimination.

Instead, customers at Wegmans stores in Fairfax, Alexandria, Tysons and Chantilly, Va., are encouraged to bring in reusable bags. The retailer will offer eco-friendlier paper grocery bags for a five-cent charge per bag, proceeds from which will be donated to community food banks.

This is the latest bagging switch for Wegmans, which has similar approaches in other markets impacted by plastic bag bans. “We’ve always understood the need to reduce single-use grocery bags,” said Jason Wadsworth, packaging, energy, and sustainability merchant for Wegmans. “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.”

The move aligns with Wegmans’ company-wide sustainability efforts that focus on sustainable packaging, eliminating waste and reducing carbon footprints. The company first introduced reusable bags in 2007 and has regularly worked to educate consumers about the benefits of those totes.

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.

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