As of Aug. 1, Price Chopper, Market Bistro and Market 32 is once again banning single-use plastic bags from its stores in New York in compliance with a state ordinance that took effect March 1. Due to lawsuits, implementation of the ban has been delayed across the state.
“We are taking this step now—before it is required—because we support the noble intent of this law to reduce plastic in the waste stream and have seen the paper bag supply chain, which tightened during the initial weeks of the pandemic due to panic buying, ease somewhat,” said Mona Golub, Price Chopper’s VP of public relations and consumer services, in a statement.
The Schenectady, N.Y.-based chain originally removed the bags from its stores in compliance with the environmentally conscious law on March 1, but brought them back at the end of that month when the pandemic hit due to scarcity of paper bags and customers’ safety concerns. In an effort to protect teammates and customers alike, those who brought reusable bags to the stores were asked to pack their own groceries.
Along with the bag ban that began Aug. 1, the retailers’ employees also once again began packing groceries in customers’ reusable bags.
“Our confidence in resuming compliance in this new age was further bolstered when the CDC and a broad cross section of the international medical community confirmed that the surface of clean reusable bags does not facilitate the transmission of COVID-19,” Golub said. “Keeping our reusables clean, like disinfecting the surfaces we touch, is both a safety precaution and a personal responsibility.”
Customers can purchase paper bags for 5 cents for handless and 15 cents for handled, but the retailer offers heavy-duty reusable bags for 50 cents. Customers can also apply AdvantEdge Rewards points toward earning free bags, which reinforces the chain’s efforts to encourage the conversion to reusables.
Price Chopper/Market 32 has endorsed legislation to reduce the use of disposable plastic (and paper) bags across its multistate footprint since 2013. “Despite the pandemic, our commitment to the environmental sanctity of our communities and the world around us remains steadfast,” said Golub.