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Why are stores charging for paper bags? Because they can

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  • Staff Report 

In New York State, where single-use plastic shopping bags were banned nearly four years ago, some customers are questioning the varying charges for paper bags. For example, stores in different categories are charging between a nickel and 50 cents for different bags, and some have even ceased offering paper bags.


Wegmans argues that the five-cent fee for paper bags aims to encourage customers to bring reusable bags. The funds collected from this charge are directed to support local non-profits, such as Foodlink and the United Way in Rochester.

Not all stores, however, follow this charging model. Target, for example, provides free paper bags at checkout and additionally offers a 5-cent discount for customers using reusable bags. This varying approach among stores highlights the broader effort to promote environmentally responsible shopping practices while acknowledging differing business policies and community support initiatives.