Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Monday signed the legislation that will ban single-use plastic bags starting in March of next year, but Wegmans has also announced that it will eliminate the use of the plastic grocery bags in its New York stores by the end of this year.
Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans' packaging and sustainability manager, said the supermarket chain wants to get ahead of the curve because of the transition that will be needed to get customers accustomed to using the reusable shopping bags.
“We know we have a long road ahead of us to get customers into reusable shopping bags, rather than paper bags,” Wadsworth told WXXI News. "And we want to take all that time to learn from our customers, learn from our employees about the best way to help folks remember to use reusable bags."
Wadsworth said Wegmans will continue to offer paper bags, but he notes that those bags are more difficult to transport and have a bigger carbon footprint. But the company will absorb the cost, rather than passing it on to shoppers.
Wegmans has also been working on eliminating some other types of plastic packaging, and it has a goal of seeing a 10-million-pound reduction in certain types of plastic packaging by 2024.
Wegmans currently has about 30 stores that are part of the company's zero-waste program, and it will roll that out to more stores in the future.