Stop & Shop Offers Free Reusable Bags At Stores Ahead Of Statewide Ban On Plastic

With single-use plastic bags becoming banned from New York retailers, Stop & Shop is offering customers a new alternative with free reusable bags.

<p>Stop &amp; Shop in Westchester will be offering reusable bags with a plastic bag ban on the horizon.</p>

Stop & Shop in Westchester will be offering reusable bags with a plastic bag ban on the horizon.

Photo Credit: File photo

In an effort to ease the transition from plastic to paper when the ban takes effect on Sunday, March 1, Stop & Shop is offering to trade carryout plastic bags for free reusable bags (while supplies last).

Beginning on Saturday, Feb. 22, Stop & Shop will have information tables set up at stores to answer questions about the upcoming ban.

The tables will also have giveaway items, including a free reusable bag for every customer who brings in one or more carryout plastic bags for recycling, with a limit of one per customer per visit.

The plastic bags collected will be recycled into composite wood, which is used for decking, park benches, and playground equipment, among other things.

Paper bags will still be available with a five-cent fee, with sales being donated to local food banks. 

At stores where the city or county has chosen not to institute the five-cent paper bag fee, Stop & Shop will charge 5 cents per bag to encourage customers to use reusable bags. 

Stop & Shop is planning to donate the funds collected from this charge to local environmental conservation groups that includes the Coastal Research & Education Society of Long Island, Riverkeeper, and the Westchester Land Trust.

“Sustainability is a priority at Stop & Shop, and we’re committed to encouraging the use of reusables and to helping our customers make the transition,” Stop & Shop President Gordon Reid said. “By charging 5 cents for paper, we’re encouraging our customers to make the switch to reusable bags – while also supporting local non-profits that are doing important work to protect and preserve the environment in New York State.”

Officials said that consumers use billions of plastic bags annually, which do not biodegrade, creating massive amounts of litter in neighborhoods and waterways and posing a threat to the health of area residents and the environment. 

The ban is expected to reduce greenhouse gas emissions associated with plastic bag production and disposal.

“We support Stop & Shop’s efforts to support local environmental organizations during this transitional period of phasing out single-use bags,” Lori Ensinger, President of Westchester Land Trust, added. “We hope customers remember their reusable bags and reduce waste in our communities. 

"Westchester Land Trust will use the funds raised through the paper bag charge to add to the nearly 9,000 acres of natural land that (the organization) has already conserved in our region and will remain preserved forever.”

The EPA estimates that 80 percent of plastic pollution in the ocean originated on land, which includes plastic bags, and in New York, residents use 23 billion plastic bags annually, which contributes to pollution both on and off land. These bags do not biodegrade and they persist for years.

Plastic pollution has become a serious threat to our lakes, rivers and marine environment as well as public health. Scientists are finding plastic pollution in shellfish and finfish, making its way to our dinner plates,” Citizens Campaign for the Environment Executive Director Adrienne Esposito said. “Giving up plastic bags and using reusable bags is one easy, reasonable step each member of the public can take to help combat the plastic pollution epidemic. 

"It is time for everyone to get on the plastic bag 'ban' wagon.”

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