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Unintended consequences of the plastic bag ban

Posted at 11:30 PM, Jan 06, 2020
and last updated 2020-01-06 23:30:30-05

It's a big step towards going reusable.

Wegmans says starting on January 27th, you'll no longer see single-use plastic grocery bags in stores.

The announcement comes just months before the state's ban on such bags goes into effect. Governor Cuomo signed that ban into law last year.

According to Wegmans, the grocery store will charge a fee of five cents per paper bag used, and the money collected from the paper bag fee will go towards FeedMore WNY.

The ban is part of the state's efforts to reduce its plastic footprint. The average American family takes home nearly 1,500 of these bags every year but according to Waste Management, only 1% of them are returned for recycling.

Wegmans says it hopes to reduce its plastic footprint by 10 million pounds over the next five years.

Non-profits like Mats for a Mission make mats for the homeless. They use reused plastic bags.

The group has handed out nearly 500 since 2016. Each mat uses over 800 bags and keeps the use dry and off the ground.

With the ban, the group expects to stop make mats within six months.

They are taking plastic bag donations at their East Hills Mall location.

The statewide ban goes into effect on March 1.

Tops Friendly Markets told 7 Eyewitness News it plans to eliminate the single-use bags at that time. "This will allow our shoppers time to make any necessary adjustments. As it stands today our shoppers have a wide selection of bags to choose from including our reusable bags and our Tops Totes for Change bags where a portion of the proceeds go back to local charities in the community. When the law goes into effect in March we will continue to offer our customers paper bag options for five cents with a portion of the proceeds going back to local charities that are in alignment with our mission of eradicating hunger and improving the lives of children," Tops Spokeswoman Kathy Sautter said in a statement.