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Wegmans on single-use bags

Hastings-on-Hudson, a village in Westchester County, recently banned both single-use plastic bags and foam food containers.

The Rochester Business Journal contacted Wegmans Food Markets Inc. for comment on the issue of such bans or per-item fees or taxes.

Wegmans provided this response from Jason Wadsworth, the company's manager of sustainability:

"Unintended consequences come from banning anything. And, we are never in favor of adding costs to solve issues like these. In fact, we are not aware of any evidence that bans, taxes or fees are having the impact intended.

"We know from experience that it’s possible to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by promoting reusable bags. This coupled with greater use of plastic bags made from recycled plastic will have a much greater impact in the long run. Our plastic bags are made from 40 percent recycled plastic that is returned to our stores by our own customers. (A true closed-loop system.)

"The consequence of banning plastic bags is the increased use of paper bags, which is far more impactful on the environment. One example: Because paper bags weigh more 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.

"We also know from experience it’s possible to reduce the use of foam containers, and we have been very successful in doing this throughout our store (meat and produce, as well as prepared foods where we have recyclable non-foam containers).

"First and foremost, packaging has to protect the product. As more packaging alternatives are introduced that meet this need, there will be greater adoption."

(c) 2015 Rochester Business Journal. To obtain permission to reprint this article, call 585-546-8303 or e-mail service@rbj.net.


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