Wegmans Saying Goodbye to Plastic Bags Companywide

Plan will go into effect by end of the year
Emily Crowe
Multimedia Editor
Big Y to Boot Plastic Bags at Checkout in August
By enacting a companywide ban of single-use plastic bags, Wegmans will prevent approximately 345,000,000 single-use bags from going into circulation over one year.

Following successful pilot programs at stores in New York, Massachusetts, Maryland and Virginia, Wegmans Food Markets will eliminate plastic bags companywide by the end of the year. The grocer will still offer paper bags at a charge of $0.05 per bag, with those funds being donated to local food banks and the United Way.

In locations that have already enacted the plastic bag ban, Wegmans estimates that paper bags are used for 20-25% of transactions and 75-80% use reusable bags or no bags at all. The company says it will prevent approximately 345,000,000 single-use bags from going into circulation over one year.

“We understand shoppers are accustomed to receiving plastic bags at checkout and losing that option requires a significant change. We are here to help our customers with this transition as we focus on doing what’s right for the environment,” said Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans category merchant for packaging, energy and sustainability. “As we’ve encountered plastic bag legislation in numerous markets, we’ve learned there’s more we can do, and a bigger impact we can make, together with our customers.”

In 2019, Wegmans removed plastic bags from its Ithaca and Corning, N.Y., stores, as well as its Richmond, Va., stores, ahead of local legislation banning their use. Including a total ban in the state of New York that took effect in January 2020, the use of plastic bags has since been discontinued at 61 stores. The remaining 45 will be undertaken in a phased approach. 

Family-owned Wegmans operates 106 stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, Massachusetts and North Carolina. The Rochester, N.Y.-based company is No. 35 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2021 list of the top retailers of food and consumables in North America.

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