(WHTM) – Wegmans has removed single-use plastic grocery bags from its 18 stores in Pennsylvania. The change took effect on Thursday, Sept. 22.

Wegmans says the move marks the completion of the company’s journey to eliminate single-use plastic grocery bags companywide by the end of the year. 

While paper grocery bags will continue to be available for a 5-cent charge per bag, Wegmans’ says its goal is to shift customers to reusable bags. The amount collected from the paper-bag charge will be donated to each store’s local United Way.

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“Completing our transition out of single-use plastic bags across the company is a big celebration as we continue to expand our sustainability efforts and focus on doing what’s right for the environment,” said Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans category merchant for packaging, energy, and sustainability. “We started on this journey in 2019 when we set out to eliminate plastic bags in our New York State stores ahead of the state plastic bag ban. A lot has happened over the last three years, but that early success in New York showed us the impact we could make and drove us to continue on our journey to be plastic bag free by the end of 2022.”

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Wegmans has committed to reducing its in-store plastic packaging made from fossil fuels, along with other single-use plastics, by 10 million pounds by 2024.