- Stop & Shop is eliminating single-use plastic bags from all 91 of its Connecticut stores beginning August 1, according to a company press release.
- To help customers with the transition, the grocer will give away one free, reusable shopping bag to each customer who brings in a single-use plastic bag for recycling, while supplies last. Stop & Shop will also offer free paper bags in August, with a 10-cent fee kicking in September 3.
- Stop & Shop’s decision to eliminate plastic bags coincides with the beginning of Connecticut’s state tax on plastic bags, which goes into effect August 1 and will require retailers to charge 10 cents for each single-use plastic bag.
In giving away new, reusable bags to shoppers, Stop & Shop is easing customers into the change and incentivizing cost-conscious shoppers as the company asks them to give up single-use bags. The giveaway, combined with a month of free paper bags, should resonate well with customers who may be reluctant to spend money on bags.
To incentivize community-minded shoppers, the grocer will sell a variety of reusable bags including its Stop & Shop community bags. For every $2.50 bag purchased, Stop & Shop will donate $1 to a nonprofit in Connecticut of the customer’s choosing.
Shoppers who are motivated by the environment should be ready to make the switch to reusable bags, and Stop & Shop is promoting additional eco-friendly efforts with its recycling push. Bags that are collected during the giveaway will be recycled into composite wood, the company said, which can be used for decking, park benches and playground equipment.
In addition to the tax on plastic bags that Connecticut is implementing August 1, the state will ban all single-use plastic bags by July 2021. Though the grocer hasn’t indicated plans to remove single-use plastic from locations in any other state at this time, parent company Ahold Delhaize has pledged to help reduce plastic waste globally by 2025.
Grocery retailers across the U.S. have cut plastic from their operations recently, with some instituting an all-out ban, while others have announced a slow and steady phase-out. Stop & Shop’s bag giveaway takes a page out of Wegmans’ book from earlier this year, when the grocer held a one-day event in New York that allowed customers to exchange single-use bags for a Wegmans reusable shopping bag. Other stores have taken creative approaches to encourage reusable shopping bag use, such as H-E-B with its Texas-inspired designs and Fresh Thyme Farmers Market’s individual state totes.