Wegmans says it will run a pilot program in two stores to remove plastic bags as of next Monday, July 29. That will happen at stores in Ithaca and Corning.
The company notes that the decision comes after its announcement in April that Wegmans will eliminate plastic bags at all of its New York State stores ahead of the state ban that takes effect on March 1, 2020.
Wegmans says that paper grocery bags will continue to be available, but 5 cents will be charged for each bag. The supermarket chain says the goal is to convert all customers to reusable bags. In the meantime, the amount collected from the paper bags at the Ithaca and Corning stores will be donated to the Food Bank of the Southern Tier.
Wegmans did say in April that it would seek to eliminate the plastic bags by the end of this year.
When asked by WXXI News on Monday if the pilot program is an indication the removal of the plastic bags at other stores, such as those in the Rochester area, will happen relatively soon, Wegmans spokesperson Jo Natale said that the removal of the bags, “will happen in advance of March 2020, when the state ban goes into effect. But we won’t determine a timeline for the remaining NYS stores until the pilot concludes.”
Wegmans says that it is “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.”