SPRINGFIELD, Mass. — Two Massachusetts retailers will stop using single-use plastic bags in the coming weeks.
Big Y Express Gas and Convenience locations will eliminate the bags effective Monday, April 22. The date corresponds with Earth Day.
Currently, the Lee, Mass., Big Y Express is the only one of the grocer's gas and convenience locations that stopped giving customers single-use plastic bags, as part of that town's ordinance, reported Convenience Store News sister publication Progressive Grocer.
The other eight Big Y Express stores in Massachusetts and Connecticut will now follow suit. The moves comes as its parent company, Big Y Foods Inc., pledged to phase out the bags at checkout by 2020.
Springfield-based Big Y operates 80 locations throughout Massachusetts and Connecticut, including 70 supermarkets, 40 pharmacies, Fresh Acres Market, Table & Vine Fine Wines and Liquors, and nine Big Y Express gas and convenience locations.
The retailer is already complying with single-use plastic bag bans in five Massachusetts municipalities that have laws on the books: Amherst, Great Barrington, Lee, Northampton and South Hadley.
Another Springfield-based retailer, Pride Stores, is also taking steps to remove single-use plastic bags from its checkouts.
Beginning on May 1, Pride will give away reusable bags and offer a 5-cent discount whenever a customer uses a reusable bag of any kind, said Pride CEO Robert Bolduc. The stores will also provide paper grocery bags to customers who ask for them, eliminating single-use plastic bags, according to MassLive.com.
"This is going to sound crazy for a boss to say — I don't know if this is going to cost or if it is going to save us money," Bolduc said. "I didn't even look at the cost. It's the right thing to do."
The retailer's decision comes as the Springfield City Council is expected to vote on a citywide single-use plastic bag ban on Tuesday, April 23. The city's ban wouldn't take effect for a year to 18 months after its passage, depending on the size of the store, according to the news outlet.