The grocery chain Giant Eagle has announced that it plans to eliminate all single-use plastics from its stores by 2025.
Starting on Jan. 15, the chain will launch a six-month pilot in which it will no longer use plastic bags at several stores in the Pittsburgh area, where the company is headquartered, and at stores in Cuyahoga County and in the Franklin County suburb of Bexley.
Giant Eagle shoppers in Cuyahoga County will have the option to buy reusable bags for 99 cents or paper bags for 10 cents each. Giant Eagle will also offer Advantage Card perks for users of the reusable bags.
After the pilot program, and based on customer interest, Giant Eagle intends to gradually curtail its plastic bag usage across its nearly 500 stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, West Virginia and Maryland.
Giant Eagle isn't the only grocery brand making similar commitments to eliminating or cutting back on plastic waste.
Store Brands reports
that Kroger will phase out single-use plastic bags by 2025 and Big Y Foods will do the same by 2020. Wegmans has committed to a 10 million-pound reduction in its stores use of single-use plastics by 2024, and Aldi has said that all of the packaging it uses will be reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
Cuyahoga County recently passed a plastic bag ban in an effort to reduce plastic waste in Lake Erie. Communities across the county, however, including Cleveland, are bowing to the will of chambers of commerce and elements of the retail lobby and opting out of the ban. Cleveland has opted out only for six months, the length of a county "grace period," and intends to more thoroughly study the issue and potentially craft legislation of its own.
Meanwhile, at the Ohio statehouse, the House of Representatives has passed a preemptive ban
on plastic bag bans. The Senate is now considering its own version of the bill, but any legislation is expected to face a challenge from Gov. Mike DeWine, who called a ban on municipalities' ability to regulate plastic bags a "serious mistake."
The Greater Cleveland Partnership's Joe Roman wrote an op-ed that appeared on cleveland.com
last week claiming that his organization's objections had to do with "potential unintended consequences resulting from bag ban policies that do not consider increased consumption of even more harmful products."
The Northeast Ohio Sierra Club, in the thread below, refuted the arguments in Roman's piece.
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