Big Y Stores to No Longer Distribute Plastic Bags Starting August 1

A new single-use plastic bag law is set to affect millions of Connecticut customers on August 1.

The financial pinch is set to change your grocery and retail shopping experience.

Big Y has more than 80 locations throughout Connecticut and Massachusetts; some locations shelling out more than 20,000 bags a week and 1-million every year.

Big Y has been complying with single-use plastic bag bans in several communities since 2014. Coming off of recent changes to laws in towns across New England, most recently in Connecticut.

Big Y has moved up its 2020 timeline to eliminate single-use plastic at checkouts in all of its locations in order to streamline operations and to do its part to support sustainability.

Store leaders say the decision to bang plastic bags and cut down on waste makes sense for the environment and their shoppers.

The same day that shoppers will start paying 10 cents per plastic bag, Big Y shoppers won’t have them as an option. The decision to get a 2-year head start on the state-wide ban on single plastic bags is clear; improve sustainability and cut down on cost.

The move comes after an initial goal to eliminate plastic options at check-outs by 2020.

Sylvia Smith says she’s for the change.

“I have a lot of the reusable bags and I’ve been buying and collecting before the new tax.” said Smith. “We’re going to have to do our part to save the universe.”

Mark Pellegrini says the decision is not a win for all shoppers.

“I think we spend enough money in these grocery stores,” said Pellegrini. “I think this is sad and I don’t think they should do this.”

The statewide ban is 10-years in the making for the citizens campaign for the environment, who fought for the removal of all plastic bags.

C.C.E. says it’s important to take steps towards reducing marine pollution from single-use plastic bags.

C.C.E program director Louis Burch says changing shopper habits is the goal.

Burch released this statement NBC Connecticut:

"Connecticut has taken an important step towards reducing marine pollution from single-use plastic bags. The budget that passed the CT General Assembly this year established a 10 cent charge on plastic carryout bags at retail establishments across the state. The charge goes into effect on August 1, 2019 and sunsets on July 30th, 2021. After that date, no store, supermarket, food mart or pharmacy will permitted to distribute plastic carryout bags at the checkout counter. CCE believes this approach is a common-sense way to increase public education and change consumer behavior, while giving retailers the time they need to make the switch. By phasing out plastic checkout bags, we can reduce litter, protect our waterways and aquatic wildlife and save municipalities money. But residents can get a head start on kicking the bag habit today- by bringing your own bag."

Burch also says spreading the word is imperative.

Shoppers will have to obey the honor system when at self-checkouts. Customers will have two options: ‘buy plastic’ or ‘reusable bag’.

The new fee for plastic bags is set to begin August 1. Beginning in 2021, shoppers will not have a plastic option at all.

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