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Walmart shoppers in Ontario, Wayne counties react to stores dropping paper bags

  • / Updated:
  • Staff Report 

Walmart has made the switch to reusable bags only in their New York stores, getting rid of single-use paper bags that replaced the outlawed plastic versions.

The decision is part of an effort to reduce waste, according to Walmart.

Shoppers at Finger Lakes area stores had mixed reactions to the change, with some saying they are accustomed to reusable bags because of the change that the state imposed nearly three years ago.

Shawn Popel, a Walmart shopper who frequents the Victor store, told that he was ready for the change. “I’ve been using the reusable bags for well over a year now,” he explained. “The paper bags were difficult to carry since they didn’t have handles.”

Environmental advocates argued there was another good reason for Walmart to ditch the paper bags: The carbon footprint of paper bags made available for 5 cents after the single-use plastic bag ban was actually greater than their plastic counterpart.

Finger Lakes Partners (Billboard)

However, some shoppers like Michaela Elten, who makes regular trips for her family to the Macedon Walmart, said more notice would’ve been beneficial. “There were a lot of customers who didn’t see this coming,” she said. “You know, store management just put the sandwich board up a couple weeks ago. And I think they, as a company, could’ve done a better job of warning customers that this was coming.”

She argued that for the first several weeks the company will probably make a lot more money off of reusable bags. “By the time people get into the store without their own reusable bags, and see that paper bags are gone, it’ll probably be too late. Especially if they have kids,” Elten continued. “So I guess it comes back, again, to communication. If they told us about this over the summer when rumors started going around.”