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It’s Finally Here: Wegmans Sets Date For Plastic Bag Ban

January 8th, 2020

By Sammi Cohen

Most Rochesterians can’t imagine life without Wegmans. But soon, they’ll all need to remember their reusable grocery bags when they make a shopping trip — or else they’ll end up paying the price.

That’s because the chain has finally set the date of their plastic bag ban, ahead of New York State’s own that goes into effect on March 1. Starting on January 27, Wegmans shoppers statewide will no longer have access to the single use plastic bags they’ve grown accustomed to using (and adding to a growing collection in the hall closet).

Up to 500,000 reefer trailers are currently in operation in the United States. Many of those trailers are packed with various items heading to Wegmans locations around the northeast.

While we rely on plastics for a variety of applications in our everyday lives, such as the durable plastics created through the reaction injection molding process, single use plastics are being heavily targeted for their wastefulness. Stainless Steel 304 is the number one most common grade of stainless steel. While 88% of the world’s steel is recycled, single use plastics are known to be harmful to the environment. We currently use 23 billion plastic bags each year, but researchers state that these bags never really decompose. This has prompted states like California to ban these single use plastic bags outright — and New York followed suit.

But until now, New York residents weren’t exactly sure when their shopping routines would be disrupted. You won’t be able to walk into a store, load your cart with personal care items (many of which contain oils in concentrations of 1-99%) and prepared food, and expect to be given grocery bags for free. Wegmans previously announced the chain would be getting rid of the bags (other than plastic bags used for uncooked meat, sliced and prepared foods, bulk products, prescription drugs, carry-out orders, and newspapers) prior to the statewide ban, but now, some residents are scrambling to get their reusable bags in order so that they won’t be forced to pay a fee.

That’s right: if you forget your own bags, you’ll need to pay a fee — if you’re in a county or municipality that’s opted into that corresponding program, that is. Wegmans will charge five cents per paper bag where applicable. Instacart shoppers will not be charged extra for paper bags, since they do not have the option of providing their own reusable ones. But before you make assumptions about where that money is going, you should know that the chain plans to donate those proceeds to local food banks in areas that have not opted into the statewide five-cent charge program. In the areas that have opted in, two cents from each bag will go towards local government, while three cents will be diverted to New York State’s Environmental Protection Fund.

That said, many advocates have pointed out that paper bags and even reusable plastic options are not necessarily better for the enviornment and that some of the guidelines show a lack of understanding about the issues at-hand.

Still, that won’t stop the wheels of progress from turning — or keep you from needing to invest in reusable shopping bags. There are plenty of options available (there are even ones you can buy right at Wegmans), but most people will want bags that are washable and sturdy enough to carry all of that fresh food without worry. Although the number of fast-food restaurants throughout the U.S. has more than doubled since the 1970s, having the right kind of reusable bags can make it that much easier to shop for healthy itemsand support environmental initiatives. It’ll just take some getting used to — and likely a couple of extra trips back to the car to retrieve the bags you forgot in the trunk.

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This entry was posted on Wednesday, January 8th, 2020 at 5:08 pm and is filed under Rochester News. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0 feed. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

One Response to “It’s Finally Here: Wegmans Sets Date For Plastic Bag Ban”

  1. Lance Boyle says:

    I’d be shocked were it not that I well recall pulling up in front of Wegmans in line to wait for the kid in the white shirt & bow tie to slide my grocerys across the sidewalk from the conveyor to my car in the fiberglass tub with the number corresponding to my plastic cards from the cashier inside. Wait, before that manpower cutting efficiency there was the carryout boy white shirted and bow tied with his 2 wheel cart that pushed all my bags to the car in the parking lot and helped load. Both systems used paper bags, and for those who desired corrugated boxes from the box bin right inside the door as you entered, next to the return bottle bin where you put the case of empty beer bottles, on the honor system. That box bin saved many cartons from death in the store incinerator out back of the store.

    There were bagger boys too, you know what they wore. The best knew to ask if you wanted double bags for canned goods and glass jars, and they always stuck ice cream in the insulated frozen bags, front end managers watched to be sure it was done right. Wegmans even used plywood gondolas to stock goodies on. Those bags came in handy around the house too. Nothing better than having a stash of bags every September when you needed book covers for school books. Lot of kids learned Geometry making those covers on the kitchen table and some even learned enough to not need tape to make the cover. How many 30 year olds can do that with a paper bag in 2020?

    Here’s another shocker, paper bags never went away. Been available at Wegmans right along, sitting waiting to be requested in the end cabinet of the checkout.

    Those of us who been around a while recall the transition era when the checker asked if you wanted paper or plastic. Plastic won out over time, but paper was always standing by right there in the end cabinet. I checked Tuesday. Plastic was touted by Danny himself as better for the environment, less trees would get cut down and could remain in the vast open spaces making Oxygen and removing Co2 from our breathing air. Danny didn’t mention it but 2-3 plastic bags cost less than 1 paper bag. Plastics got better and thinner, and hardly anybody requested paper bags any more. Bob just shook his head as he drove by stores on his way to play golf.

    White shirt and black bow tie sales went flat and died because of plastic bags, and a few thousand kids didn’t have jobs bagging groceries, although a lot of the next generation found employment as cart corralers and return agents in fluorescent green garments, but bow ties and white shirts would never return.

    As the plastic bag sees its last days at Wegmans, we should all take a moment as we head from car to store, look skyward and thank plastic bags for the part they played bringing the LPGA and other events to Rochester. The ladies might want to take an extra 3 seconds and thank the bag for saving their day springing into action from the console of the car to act as an emergency RainDana sans portfolio. How many Wegmans plastic bags yielded up their last service protecting casts and bandages in showers? They too deserve remembering. No paper bag will ever be able to do that.

    I’ll conclude by suggesting we should all retain a few plastic bags to honor NY Politicians with. They can be seated on park benches for our convenience as we triple bag their heads with plastic bags and tape them tightly around their necks. Andy Cuomo can sit on a few phone books for the event because he’s SPECIAL.


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