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Big Y Says Bye to Plastic Bags

Retailer to also impose a 10-cent fee on paper bags
Photograph: Shutterstock

Big Y Foods is beating several retailers to the punch by eliminating single-use plastic bags at checkout across all of it stores by Aug. 1. 

The New England-based retailer had removed plastic bags in several store locations in Massachusetts communities that imposed bag bans back in 2014, with a goal to eliminate them across its footprint by 2020. Company officials said recent law changes in several towns across New England prompted the retailer to accelerate the timeline. 

Big Y will also work to eliminate paper-bag use by imposing a 10-cent fee for customers that forget to bring a reusable shopping bag. 

To help streamline the transition, Big Y will offer discounts on reusable bags, which are located conveniently at the checkout counter and come in fun and locally inspired designs, through the month of August. The retailer also offers helpful tutorials on how to clean reusable shopping bags on its website.

“At Big Y, beyond providing great quality, great prices and great customer service, we also try to be smart about the resources and energy we use,” said Richard D. Bossie, SVP of operations and customer experience for Big Y. “By working with our shoppers, we can further reduce consumption to make a difference in and around the tight-knit communities that we serve across New England.”

While plastic-bag bans have been a hot topic for some time, few retailers have phased them out completely. The Kroger Co. is working to phase them out by 2025 and has eliminated them in its QFC division.

On the other hand, Aldi has never offered single-use plastic bags and is instead working to convert all of its packaging to reusable or recyclable material by 2025.

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