Wawa Unveils New Initiative as New Jersey's Ban on Single-Use Bags Goes Into Effect
The "Skip the Bag for Good" program will give away 1,000 reusable bags at each Garden State store.
WAWA, Pa. — Wawa Inc. is launching its "Skip the Bag for Good" initiative on May 4, the first day that the state of New Jersey's ban on single-use plastic bag goes into effect for all retailers. The goal is to make the transition away from single-use plastic bags as easy and meaningful as possible for its customers.
Starting at 7 a.m. on May 4, every Wawa convenience store will be giving away 1,000 free reusable bags with a purchase, while supplies last. This includes 272 Wawa convenience stores in New Jersey, which will distribute a total of nearly 272,000 free reusable bags to customers throughout the state.
After the free bags have been given out, Wawa will offer New Jersey customers value-priced reusable bags for just 35 cents each as an option to use at Wawa stores and beyond. The convenience store operator will also encourage customers to bring in their own reusable bags as they shop in store, or to skip using a bag altogether.
New Jersey Governor Phil Murphy signed legislation prohibiting the use of the bags at retail as well as foodservice businesses — including c-stores, restaurants, food trucks and grocery stores measuring at least 2,500 square feet — across the state in November 2020. In addition to the bag ban, the measure prohibits the use of disposable food containers and cups made out of polystyrene foam.
"We thank our customers for joining Wawa and the State of New Jersey in our journey to 'skip the bag for good' as we work together to keep our community safe, scenic and sustainable," said Dave Simonetti, senior director of store operations for New Jersey. "Shopping with a reusable bag is a change of habit for many people that can reduce our long-term impact on the environment, and we are excited to do our part to support our community."
As part of the "Skip the Bag for Good" initiative, Wawa will work to educate both customers and store associates on the new legislation, as well as the impact that single-use plastic bags have on the environment and the benefits of reusable bags.
Beyond the mandate, and as part of the retailer's long-term commitment to protecting the environment, Wawa will continue to take steps to reduce single-use plastic bags consumption in all stores across its six-state operating area, the company said.
Wawa previously held a "Skip the Bag for Good" initiative in the city of Philadelphia in September 2021 after its local ban on single-use plastic bags finally went into effect following a delay due to the COVID-19 pandemic and its effect on small businesses, as Convenience Store News reported. In previous years, Philadelphia residents used up to 1 billion bags annually, many of which ended up in streets and waterways.
Other retailers working to support sustainability by discontinuing single-use plastic bags include Pittsburgh-based Giant Eagle Inc., parent company of GetGo, which announced incentives to for customers to bring in their own reusable bags.
Pennsylvania-based Wawa operates nearly 1,000 c-stores in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Virginia, Florida and Washington, D.C.