September 29, 2022

No matter which Wegmans store a customer purchases from in the United States, they will not find single-use plastic bags available at checkout.

Wegmans eliminated the use of single-use plastic bags in its Pennsylvania stores on September 22, according to a Press release. Pennsylvania was the last state in which Wegmans still had plastic bags available at checkout. With this decision, the grocery chain has achieved its goal of eliminating single-use plastic bags in all stores by the end of 2022. The chain also intends to reduce plastic packaging by 10 single-use and plastics made from fossil fuels used in stores. million pounds by 2024.

While retailers like Aldi have also promoted reusable bags, and others like Walmart and Kroger have taken steps to reduce single-use plastics in other ways, much of the movement against grocery bags single-use plastic in recent years has occurred at the legislative level.

In the years immediately preceding the pandemic, plastic bag bans at the state and municipal level were increasingly discussed, piloted, and implemented in the United States as a way to reduce both the impact environment and visible waste.

But in March 2020, when the pandemic hit, many states and cities temporarily suspended their plastic bag bans. There was a perception that reusable bags would slow down the checkout process and keep people in stores longer, increasing the possibility of COVID-19 transmission, and concerns that reusable bags would be a possible source of transmission viral. (Experts later established that COVID-19 was not transmitted through contaminated surfaces.)

At the end of 2020 and 2021, the municipalities started reinstate prohibitions.

Today, the state with the strictest bag ban is running into some unintended consequences.

According NJ.com. Since grocery delivery services have had to use reusable bags with every order to comply with the law, customers have complained of hoarding dozens or even hundreds of bags. And although they are reusable, they are not necessarily easily recyclable.

DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Is Wegmans’ chain-wide ban on single-use plastic bags wise for the grocer? Are there other grocers you expect to follow suit as part of company policy and not as part of an act of compliance with local or state laws?

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“Does Wegmans’ chain-wide ban on single-use plastic bags make business sense for the grocer?”

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