Price Chopper/Market 32 to resume disposable plastic bag ban in New York stores

Press release from Price Chopper/Market 32.

Beginning Aug. 1, all New York Price Chopper, Market Bistro and Market 32 stores will once again ban thin film plastic bags, in compliance with the environmentally conscious New York State law that was implemented shortly before quarantine began.

The progressive Schenectady, N.Y.-based chain removed plastic bags from its stores when New York’s law went into effect on March 1, but then brought them back by the end of that month because paper bags were growing scarce and some customers said they felt safer using disposable bags. In an effort to protect teammates and customers alike, those who brought reusable bags to the stores were asked to pack their own groceries.

On August 1, the chain’s teammates will resume packing reusable bags for customers. Mona Golub, Price Chopper’s vice president of public relations and consumer services, said, “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.”

“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*,” she added. “Keeping our reusables clean, like disinfecting the surfaces we touch, is both a safety precaution and a personal responsibility.”

Although disposable paper bags can be purchased – five cents for handle-less ones and fifteen cents for handled ones – the availability of heavy duty reusables for as little as fifty cents and the ability to apply AdvantEdge Rewards points toward earning free bags emphasize the chain’s efforts to encourage the conversion to reusables. Paper bags are more costly to produce, distribute and recycle than plastic bags, don’t biodegrade easily in landfills given the inherent lack of oxygen and are less likely than plastic bags to be reused.

Price Chopper/Market 32 has endorsed thoughtful legislation to reduce the use of disposable plastic (and paper) bags across its multi-state footprint since 2013. “Despite the pandemic, our commitment to the environmental sanctity of our communities and the world around us remains steadfast,” said Golub.