New York State’s ban on plastic bags at grocery stores, implemented in March 2020, has led to a significant decrease in plastic waste, according to Jason Wadsworth, Category Merchant for Packing, Energy, Sustainability at Wegmans.
The ban, which required stores to encourage customers to use reusable bags or purchase paper bags for five cents instead, led to a shift in consumer behavior, with stores such as Wegmans seeing a 20% reuse rate and 80% plastic rate before the ban, to an 85% reuse rate and 15% paper rate today.
While the ban on plastic bags has been successful in reducing plastic waste, Wadsworth notes that there is still much work to be done in reducing other types of plastic packaging. He also noted that Wegmans has set a goal to reduce 10 million pounds of plastic packaging by 2024 and is still accepting various plastics in the bins found at their stores.
The ban on plastic bags serves as a reminder of the impact small changes in consumer behavior can have on the environment and the importance of continuing to find ways to reduce plastic waste.
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