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RALEIGH, N.C -- Wegmans, the 13th-largest supermarket chain in the United States, says beginning Friday, it will no longer offer single-use plastic bags to shoppers in North Carolina and Virginia. This action will affect 10 stores across the two southernmost states with Wegman’s markets. The company is following through on its pledge to phase out plastic bags from all its 100+ stores across seven states by the end of this year.
In addition to eliminating plastic bags, the chain will also implement a 5 cent fee on paper bags to both incentivize consumers to bring reusable bags.
While some other supermarket chains such as Aldi have made similar commitments, many large grocery retailers have yet to take such steps to address our nation’s plastic pollution problem.
In response, NCPIRG’s State Director Katie Craig released the following statement:
“Wegmans and other retailers taking action to limit plastic usage is essential to a safer, healthier future. Given how much of what we buy is disposable, consumers sometimes need a little push to shift their habits. We should focus on the future of our planet rather than the short-term convenience of unnecessary plastic, which only leads to waste. I hope this step will create a path for other groceries and retailers to follow.”
Environment Virginia’s State Director Elly Boehmer said:
“We use plastic shopping bags for just minutes before tossing them away. But there really is no ‘away.’ That thin plastic is nearly impossible to recycle. Instead, it can last in our environment for hundreds of years, clogging landfills, polluting greenspaces, and ending up in our waterways, where it harms wildlife and threatens our health.
“While some Virginia localities have already discouraged customers from using single-use plastic by charging 5-cent fees per bag, grocery stores can go above and beyond by eliminating these bags from their stores and truly encourage reusable options. We applaud Wegman’s leadership and follow-through on its commitment to phase out this dangerous plastic in all of their stores. We urge other Virginia grocery stores to do the same.”
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