Supermarkets not the only trade affected by plastic bag ban

Wegmans plastic bag ban begins Monday; Other industries brace for March 1 deadline

Mike Baggerman
January 27, 2020 - 3:00 am
Plastic bags at Straight Up Wines & Liquors in Kenmore. January 24, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Plastic bags at Straight Up Wines & Liquors in Kenmore. January 24, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

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BUFFALO, N.Y. (WBEN) - The ban on single-use plastic bags starts to get real for Western New York today as Wegman's stops using the bags.  But supermarkets aren't the only industry impacted by the plastic bag ban that officially takes effect on March 1.

Any industry that uses single-use plastic bags at checkouts in New York will no longer be able to use them beginning in March after Albany lawmakers and Governor Andrew Cuomo banned their use last year.

That means liquor stores, for example, will have to come up with alternatives at the check-out counter.

"It makes it a little more challenging," Straight Up Wines and Liquors Store Manager Samantha Kline told WBEN. "We do have a couple customers that bring their own reusable bags but that's not many at all. We have the boxes that we empty the wines out of available for people that buy in bulk a lot. Other than that, it's going to be on the customer to be prepared with the reusable bag or they'll have to shove it all in paper and it will be harder to carry."

Straight up Wines & Liquors in Kenmore. January 24, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)
Straight up Wines & Liquors in Kenmore. January 24, 2020 (WBEN Photo/Mike Baggerman)

Kline said they're expecting to stock up on larger-sized paper bags to accommodate multiple bottles of liquor. She expects the transition to be hard at first because of concerns from some customers over carrying a bottle of wine or liquor in public without a bag. We've reached out to Kenmore Police to get clarification on whether or not they would be fined.

Hardware stores are also making adjustments. Ed Young's Hardware in Williamsville is also forced to eliminate their bags for customers.

"On average we're looking at a cost of about ten cents per bag in difference between the plastic bags and paper bags," Ed Young's Hardware Store Manager, Grant Szymanek, said. "We are not charging any additional price to the consumer at all."

Szymanek said they also sell reusable bags at the store.

Both Ed Young's Hardware and Straight Up Wines and Liquors said they are supportive of the law because of its environmental impact but acknowledged it will impact their bottom line.

Wegmans will no longer use single-use plastic bags on Monday, weeks before the state ban takes effect. Their goal is to shift customers to reusable bags. While Wegmans is making the transition ahead of the March 1 deadline, Tops previously told WBEN they will not discontinue their use of plastic bags until the ban takes effect.

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