Big Y Express stores to eliminate single use plastic bags starting next week

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SPRINGFIELD, Mass (WWLP) – Starting next week Big Y Express Gas and Convenience stores will be the first in the company to eliminate single-use plastic bags.

In a news release sent to 22News, the Big Y Express gas and convenience locations will be the first of the 80-store company to start phasing out single-use plastic bags starting Monday. 

The Big Y Express in Lee is the only location without plastic bags as a part of the town’s ordinance. The other eight locations in Massachusetts and Connecticut will eliminate the bags in time for Earth Day.

Five Big Y stores in Massachusetts are already not using plastic bags, including their Northampton, South Hadley, and Amherst locations. The company issued a pledge in January to eliminate all single-use plastic bags in their checkouts by 2020.

Big  Y Director of “C Store” Operations, Jim Lukaszewski, told 22News they wanted to eliminate plastic bags at their convenience stores before they are removed from Big Y grocery stores next year. He said most customers support this action. 

“I already have been using recycling bags and we don’t need the plastic bags,” said Sheila Smith of Springfield.

Big Y said plastic bags can harm the environment and wildlife when they are not disposed of properly. Both Massachusetts and Connecticut have proposed statewide bans on single-use plastic bags. Some western Massachusetts communities like Greenfield and Lee have passed ordinances banning single-use plastic bags. 

Big Y currently uses 100 million plastic bags and 3.5 million paper bags at their checkouts each year. According to the EPA, more than 380 billion plastic bags are used throughout the United States each year. 

The company has already taken steps in their sustainability efforts including daily donations to local food banks and collecting single-use plastic bags from customers to send to recycle plants for use in decking.

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