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Wegmans, Tops respond to Governor's proposed plastic bag ban

Nick Lippa

Wegmans has some concerns about Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposal this week to ban single-use plastic bags.

Cuomo says that a ban on single-use plastic carryout bags will significantly reduce waste and environmental impacts. But Wegmans officials say it is important to fully understand the impact that the various bagging options would have on the environment. 

Jason Wadsworth, the supermarket chain’s manager of sustainability, said a plastic bag ban does not address the likely increase in the use of paper bags.

He said paper bags are heavier and take up more space, which increases the number of trucks needed to transport grocery bags. Wadsworth also noted that it takes about 90 percent more resources and energy to make and recycle paper compared to plastic.

Wegmans position is that increasing the use of reusable bags is the best way to reduce the number of paper and plastic bags being used. The company also noted that its plastic bags are made from 40 percent recycled plastic.

A statement from Tops Friendly Markets said that grocer will continue to abide by any legislation set forth by the communities they serve, but noted Tops has ramped up its plastic bag recycling efforts over the last few years.

Tops said it is encouraging the use of the insulated bags outside of the usual grocery shopping for other activities, such as picnics and the beach, in place of plastic bags.

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