Wegmans Voices Opposition to Single Use Plastic Bag Ban

Supermarket says paper bags worse environmental choice

Tom Puckett
April 25, 2018 - 1:21 pm

Buffalo, NY (WBEN) One local grocery chain is saying no to Governor Cuomo's proposed ban on single use plastic bags.

"A plastic bag ban that doesn’t also address single-use paper bags will likely lead to an increase in the use of paper bags, which is not what’s best for the environment," says Wegmans in a statement. "We know from experience that it’s possible to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by educating customers about reusable bags and reminding them to bring plastic bags back to our store for recycling. This, coupled with the use of plastic bags made from recycled plastic will have a much greater impact in the long run. Wegmans uses a true closed-loop recycling program. Our plastic bags are made from 40 percent recycled plastic that is returned to our stores by our own customers, and our recycling rate for plastic bags averaged close to 50 percent in 2017."

Wegmans also contends plastic is a better choice than paper. "Environmentally, paper is the least preferred of the three bagging options. Paper bags are heavier and take up more space; it takes seven tractor trailers to transport the same number of paper bags as plastic bags carried by one tractor trailer. It also takes about 90 percent more resources and energy to make and recycle paper compared to plastic. Due to the chemicals used in the manufacturing process, paper is also very harmful to our waterways. And while paper bags are biodegradable, they won’t actually biodegrade if they end up in a landfill because of a lack of oxygen," says Wegmans.

Wegmans adds increasing the use of reusable bags is by far the best way to reduce the number of paper and plastic bags being used.


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