Pennsylvanians heading to Wegmans this week might want to make sure they have a reusable bag as the grocery chain, which has 18 locations in the state spanning from Erie to King of Prussia, announced that it would stop offering plastic bags starting Thursday, September 22nd.
Shoppers will still be able to purchase brown bags for 5 cents each, a measure that Wegmans hopes will incentivize customers to bring their own bags. The money made from these brown bags will go towards donations via United Way.
“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,” the company cites in a press announcement.
Plastic bag bans have been enacted in neighboring states like New Jersey and New York on varying scales as part of an initiative to curb environmental waste.
Pennsylvanians seemed supportive of the decision as FOX 29 interviewed some Wegmans customers in the King of Prussia area.
“We hear about plastics. We all know what plastics do [to] the environment. They are harmful,” Manas Mondal, a regular shopper, said.
“You see the plastic bags with debris on the streets, hanging in trees,” Kenneth Burlen, who shops for his family, said, agreeing that a move towards reusable bags is the right decision.
But despite the benefits to the environment, it can be difficult to have a former convenience taken away, as shoppers often forget their reusable bags at home or in car trunks.
One shopper, Katie Barell, noted that they would have run back to their car to get their reusable bag if they didn’t have to account for their daughter, highlighting that it will take time for shoppers to grow accustomed to the new rules.
“I’m embarrassed that I have all my plastic bags, despite having the reusable bags sitting in the trunk,” Barell said.
“Wegmans’ goal is to shift customers to reusable bags, the best option to solve the environmental challenge of single-use grocery bags,” noted the company’s announcement.