Walmart and Dollar Tree among major retailers set to charge customers more to shop – see if your city is affected
CUSTOMERS at both Walmart and Dollar Tree are in for a nasty surprise – retailers are starting to charge shoppers more for purchases due to a newly enacted bag policy.
Thousands of customers in West Norriton, Pennsylvania will now see a surcharge on their groceries after the city passed a new law.
The law prohibits retailers from using single-use plastic bags or non-recycled paper bags.
According to the city, plastic production is estimated to surpass coal in terms of climate change impacts by 2030.
This, combined with the numerous negative effects plastic has on the environment and human health, prompted the city to enact its new ordinance.
“The commissioners’ goals in passing this regulation are to conserve resources and reduce greenhouse gas emissions, reduce waste, litter and water pollution, and protect public health and welfare,” the city said in an announcement.
The law officially goes into effect on April 22, but not all shoppers are excited about the shift toward sustainability.
HOW POLITICS WORKS
Under the new law, all retail businesses must phase out the use of single-use plastic bags, as well as non-recycled paper bags.
However, stores can offer customers recycled paper bags as long as the bags are available for less than 15 cents a bag.
However, buyers using an EBT transfer card or WIC will not be charged the fee.
To qualify as a recycled bag, the container must be made up of at least 40 percent post-consumer recycling.
Shoppers are also encouraged to bring their own reusable bags to avoid an extra charge at checkout.
All retailers have been asked to put up signs detailing which bags will no longer be provided in the months before the rule goes into effect.
Affected stores include drugstores, supermarkets, grocery stores, farmers markets, food trucks, restaurants and clothing stores.
Because the city is home to Walmart and Dollar Tree locations, shoppers at these stores and more will start to experience markups in just a few short weeks.
“For Walmart, compliance and commitment to the environment are equally important components in our efforts to reduce our reliance on single-use plastics,” Walmart states on its website.
If retailers are found to be breaking the law, they will receive a written warning before being charged $50.
A second offense will result in a fine of $100 or $200 for the third offense or more.
OTHER CITIES BANNED PLASTIC
West Norriton isn’t the only city enacting a widespread plastic bag ban.
The neighboring city of Pittsburgh originally made headlines last year when it phased out single-use plastics in its stores.
However, the city has delayed actual enforcement of the policy and plans to finalize it on Oct. 14.
“Critical to the success of this major initiative is that the city is prepared to do what it can to help businesses and consumers make the transition,” Mayor Ed Gainey said in a statement.
“This extra time will allow us to do the work to be able to enact this policy with the right guidance for everyone to make this as smooth as possible for all of us.”
Since then, Alleghency County in Pennsylvania has announced it will also consider a plastic bag ban after holding a hearing on the issue in February.
However, some bans have even arrived at the nationwide level.
California was the first state to eliminate single-use plastic bags in grocery stores.
The newly enacted law will come into full effect on January 1, 2025.
Connecticut also began its plastic ban on July 1, 2021, ending the previously 10-cent tax on plastic bags.
Now stores offer paper bags or reusable ones, including a plastic bag that is actually reusable.
And in July 2022, Delaware also joined the list of states adopting plastic bag-free policies.
Hawaii has also introduced a bag policy to limit plastic pollution.
Under the rule, all businesses are no longer allowed to hand in plastic bags and non-recyclable paper bags at checkouts.
Each customer is charged a minimum of 15 cents per reusable plastic or recyclable paper bag.
Vermont, Maine, Colorado, New York and Oregon have also joined the initiative to ban plastic bags in grocery stores.
CHANGE OF COMPANIES
While some of the plastic bag bans have emerged from local government policies, retailers are taking things one step ahead by creating their own policies for specific stores.
While both Target and Walmart have added surcharges for shoppers who need bags in states where bans have been enforced, some retailers have gone a step further.
Bargain retailer Aldi announced that it would fully implement the Beyond the Bag initiative.
The discounter has already removed plastic bags from around 500 branches, but hopes to soon do away with single-use bags at all 2,200 locations.
Sprouts also plans to eliminate single-use plastic bags at all of its stores nationwide.
The grocery chain has about 380 stores in 23 states and plans to phase out more than 200 million of the bags each year.
“Our customers tell us how much they appreciate Sprouts’ concern for the planet and our commitment to doing what is right for our future together,” said Nick Konat, Sprouts President and Chief Operating Officer.
Meanwhile, another grocery retailer, Wegmans, has eliminated single-use plastic bags from its Virginia and North Carolina locations.
Shoppers have already spoken out against New Jersey’s new plastic bag ban.
Also, check out the full list of store changes coming to Walmart shoppers this spring.
https://www.the-sun.com/money/7785334/pennsylvania-plastic-bag-ban-walmart/ Walmart and Dollar Tree among major retailers set to charge customers more to shop – see if your city is affected