ROCHESTER, N.Y. — If your next road trip takes you to a Wegmans location in the Southern Tier, be prepared to bring your own reusable shopping bags.
The Rochester-based chain announced Tuesday a pilot program that will eliminate plastic bags from their Ithaca and Corning locations starting this Monday, July 29.
The move comes ahead of a state ban on the bags which takes effect March 1, 2020.
Paper grocery bags will still be available at those stores, however, Wegmans will charge five cents for each bag with the amount collected to be donated to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier. The chain's goal is to encourage all of their customers to transition to reusable bags, thereby eliminating the need to charge for the paper ones.
Wegmans released the following statement in connection with their announcement:
We are determined to do what’s right by encouraging all of our customers to switch to reusable bags, the best option to solve the environmental challenge of single-use grocery bags.
A consequence of a plastic bag ban will be an increase in the use of paper bags, which for a host of reasons, are bad for the environment.
In stores where a small fee is charged, reusable bag usage goes up dramatically. If, together, we can make that happen in our 46 New York State stores, it will have an immeasurable environmental impact for decades to come.
A recent survey by the grocery chain found that 95% of customers already own at least one reusable bag.