This week, Stop & Shop plans to eliminate single-use plastic bags at checkout in all of its Connecticut stores.
The Ahold Delhaize USA chain said Monday that the plastic bags will no longer be available at its 91 stores in Connecticut effective Aug. 1. Starting on that date, customers at those locations can get a free reusable bag if they bring in one or more single-use plastic bags for recycling.
During August, Stop & Shop also will provide free paper bags at all Connecticut stores, where local laws permit. But on Sept. 3, the retailer will begin charging a 10-cent fee on paper bags.
In Connecticut, a law effective Aug. 1 calls for a 10-cent fee on single-use plastic bags. After June 30, 2021, however, the plastic bags will be banned entirely at checkout.
“We know that the environmental impact of plastics is something our customers and communities care about here in Connecticut, so we’re eliminating single-use plastic bags well ahead of the state-mandated timeline. And we’re also placing a 10-cent fee on paper bags to encourage our customers to make the switch to reusable,” Rudy DiPietro, senior vice president of operations at Stop & Shop, said in a statement.
“We also appreciate the fact that it’s going to take our customers time to make this adjustment, so we’re waiving the fee on paper throughout the month of August at most stores, offering reusable bag giveaways, and doing everything we can to help make the transition an easy one,” he added.
The single-use-for-reusable bag exchange program will continue while supplies last, with a limit of one per customer per visit, Stop & Shop said. Bags collected will be recycled into composite wood, which is used for decking, park benches, playground equipment and other applications.
Local stores also will offer a selection of reusable bags for purchase, including Stop & Shop Community Bags, which make it easy for shoppers to give back to the community. Each time a customer buys the $2.50 reusable bag, $1 will be donated to a Connecticut nonprofit of their choice.
Stop & Shop said that, last year, it recycled more than 360 million pounds of material, including plastics and cardboard, which diverted about 74% of the company’s waste from going to landfills. The Quincy, Mass.-based chain operates more than 400 supermarkets in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island, New York and New Jersey.
Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, Stop & Shop’s parent company, aims to recycle 80% of total waste across its operations by 2020. In 2016, the global food retailer’s Stop & Shop and Giant brands in the United States reached a milestone of reducing 1 billion single-use bags over a five-year period via improved bagging techniques and promoting the use of reusable bags with customers. All of the company’s U.S. brands provide and promote reusable bags.