CNY Grocer Warns Cuomo of Plastic Bag Ban’s Unintended Consequences
Wegmans Food Markets isn't on board with Governor Andrew Cuomo's proposed state-wide ban on single-use plastic bags.
In a statement released to NewsChannel 9 in Syrcause, the grocery store chain which operates 95 stores on the East Coast - nearly half of which are in New York State, with many in the Syracuse area - is warning of the unintended consequences of simply banning single use bags:
"We are not in favor of Governor Cuomo’s proposed bill. It has long been Wegmans’ position that unintended consequences come from banning anything.
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.
When it comes to limiting the bagging options available to consumers, it’s important to fully understand the impact of each option on the environment. 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. 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."
Citing a 'devastating' toll on the environment, the Governor's proposal would ban single-use plastic bags - what you often bag your groceries in - but not trash bags, reusable plastic bags and plastic bags used when purchasing meats and fruit.
If approved it could take effect as early as 2019, however it will likely face strong opposition from lawmakers.