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Wegmans to eliminate single-use plastic bags from NC stores

plastic grocery bags
Photo by mtsofan / John
found on Flickr, licensed under Creative Commons

Wegmans announced Monday that it will remove single-use plastic grocery bags from its North Carolina and Virginia stores beginning July 1.

In April, the company said it would eliminate the bags companywide by the end of the year, according to a news release.

The grocery chain has four stores in North Carolina, all of them in the Triangle-area — Chapel Hill, Raleigh, Cary and Wake Forest — and six in Virginia.

Paper grocery bags will continue to be available for a five-cent charge per bag. The amount collected from the charge will be donated to each store’s local food bank.

The company said the move to shift customers to reusable bags is the best option to solve the environmental challenge of single-use bags.

The use of reusable bags by charging per paper bag is an approach that has proven successful in Richmond and Fairfax County, Virginia, as well as other markets, the company stated.

In stores where the company 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 release stated.

Wegmans will continue its phased approach to eliminating single-use plastic bags at its remaining 27 stores in Maryland, Pennsylvania, and Massachusetts, throughout the remainder of the year.

The company said it has committed to reducing its in-store plastic packaging made from fossil fuels, along with other single-use plastics, by 10 million pounds by 2024.

Founded in Rochester, New York, Wegmans has plans to open a fifth store in North Carolina, in Holly Springs.

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