ROCHESTER, NY (WKBW) — Wegmans has announced that by the end of this year, it will be the first to eliminate the use of plastic bags in all its grocery stores across New York State.
“By the end of this year, we will eliminate the use of plastic grocery bags in our New York State stores. We want to get out ahead of this because we have a lot to learn from our customers about how we can help them make the shift to reusable bags, which are far better than paper bags for the environment.” said Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans packaging and sustainability manager.
The state passed a new law that calls to eliminate the use of plastic grocery shopping backs by March 1, 2020. Wegmans is working said it's on the "road to zero waste" and is making the commitment to further reduce it's 'in-store' plastic packaging created from fossil fuels. This includes other 'single-use' plastics, such a straws.
Wegmans wants to reduce the usage by 10-million pounds by 2024. Wegmans switched from plastic straws and drink stir sticks to renewable fiber alternatives at all of its store locations as well as corporate work sites this year. Wegmans said it will work to achieve this "by eliminating some current plastic packaging and replacing it with materials made from plant-based renewable fiber."
Wegmans said it will also "continue to work closely with The Center for Sustainable Packaging at Rochester Institute of Technology to identify new opportunities and packaging innovations" at all its stores and corporate work sites.
“We’re taking measurable steps to improve and implement programs that increase our recycling rate, minimize waste, and help make a difference in every community we serve,” said Wadsworth. “One area we’re paying particular attention to is packaging. We need to ensure packaging is functional and performs as expected, which is key to reducing food waste. But, it must also use materials efficiently and responsibly, and be recyclable whenever possible.”But even before this year, Wegmans started a mission of reducing plastic packaging in 2015. “Since putting a major focus on sustainable packaging in 2015, we’ve made great progress and have picked up a good deal of momentum,” said Wadsworth. “But with the aggressive goal we’ve set, momentum alone isn’t enough. We need to kick it into high gear.”
Here are just a few examples of how Wegmans has already reduced plastic throughout its stores:
· food bar containers that use 40% less plastic and are recyclable
· donut and Celebration Cake boxes made from 100% recycled paper content
· produce bags made from 100% plant-based renewable materials
· rotisserie chicken pouches that use 75 percent less plastic than the previously used plastic domes
You can learn more about Wegmans sustainable packaging efforts by clicking here.
Wegmans says you can bring a tightly packed bag of plastic bags to Wegmans this Saturday between 11-3 and receive a coupon for a free Wegmans reusable bag.