Wegmans announced it will remove plastic shopping bags from its 18 stores in Pennsylvania beginning Sept. 22.
The move marks the completion of the company’s plan to eliminate single-use plastic bags company-wide by the end of the year.
Shoppers will have the option to purchase reusable bags for 99 cents or pay 5 cents per paper bag. Proceeds from the paper bag sales will be donated to the United Way and local food pantries.
The decision to bag plastic bags comes as concern grows over the environmental harm they cause. Several states, including New York, have banned the bags entirely.
“Completing our transition out of single-use plastic bags across the company is a big celebration as we continue to expand our sustainability efforts and focus on doing what’s right for the environment,” said Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans category merchant for packaging, energy, and sustainability. “We started on this journey in 2019 when we set out to eliminate plastic bags in our New York State stores ahead of the state plastic bag ban. A lot has happened over the last three years, but that early success in New York showed us the impact we could make and drove us to continue on our journey to be plastic bag free by the end of 2022.”
Wegmans officials said their goal is to shift customers to reusable bags.
In stores where Wegmans has already eliminated plastic bags, on average, paper bags are used for 20-25% of transactions, while the remaining 75-80% use reusable bags or no bag at all.
In all, Wegmans has 108 stores along the East Coast.