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In honor of America Recycles Day, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is encouraging customers to properly recycle plastic bags to prevent them from polluting our waterways, getting tangled in trees and bushes, or ending up in a landfill.
There’s no denying plastic bags are useful, convenient and offer benefits for consumers and retailers alike. While more environmentally friendly than their paper counterparts, the biggest problem with plastic bags is improper disposal.
A recent survey conducted by Wegmans showed many consumers are unfamiliar with the proper way to recycle plastic bags. According to the survey, 13 percent of respondents are currently placing plastic bags in curbside recycling bins, and 45 percent were unaware that plastic bags need to be returned to a retailer or collection facility to be properly recycled.
Don’t “Curb” Your Plastic Bags
You might think all recyclable material can go in your curbside bin, but most recycling centers across the country do not accept plastic bags or other plastic wraps and films. The reason – recycling centers use high-speed mechanized sorting lines to separate paper and plastic efficiently. Plastic bags and films get caught in the machinery, causing slowdowns, and at times, bringing the entire system to a halt. For that reason, the bags and plastic films end up in landfills.
Recycle Plastic at Wegmans
Wegmans has offered plastic recycling receptacles at its stores since 1994. Customers can use these receptacles for recycling clean, dry, flexible plastic (#2 and #4), including all retailers’ plastic shopping bags, bread bags, plastic outer wraps, produce bags, and cereal box liners, to name a few. Wegmans uses the collected plastic to make new bags made from 40 percent post-consumer recycled material.
Plastic Bag Alternatives
“We know from experience we can reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by promoting reusable bags,” said Jason Wadsworth, manager of sustainability for Wegmans. "If each customer used just one reusable bag on each shopping trip, Wegmans would use 330 million fewer plastic bags each year."
“We also know people forget their bags, or make unplanned stops at the grocery store,” continued Wadsworth. “That's why it’s important to educate customers on the next-best option and the importance of reusing or properly recycling their plastic bags.”
Almost half of the plastic bags and film by weight used by Wegmans customers are returned for recycling. In honor of America Recycles Day, join the effort to keep that rate growing, and take small steps all year long to reduce, reuse, and recycle.
Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 95-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 20 consecutive years, ranking #2 in 2017.
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