Good Question: Why do some stores charge for paper bags?

Good Question: Why do stores charge for paper bags?

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. — Why do some stores charge for paper bags? It has been almost four years since New York State banned single-use plastic shopping bags. If you forgot to bring a reusable bag, that may mean you need an extra charge for a paper bag.

Renee asks: “Why are stores still charging for brown paper bags? Michael’s charges 35 cents. Dollar Tree bags are free. Aren’t these stores making enough to not keep nickel and diming citizens?”

Employees at Rochester-area Michael’s locations say the store stopped offering paper bags before the holidays. Now, it charges 35 cents for a small reusable bag and 50 cents for a large one.

Wegmans still offers paper bags and charges for them. A Wegmans representative says the reason for the five-cent paper bag charge is to incentivize people to bring reusable bags.

Wegmans says reusable bags are “the best option to solve the environmental challenge of single-use grocery bags. The amount collected from the paper-bag charge is used to support local non-profit organizations.” Wegmans says those local non-profits in Rochester include Foodlink and the United Way.

Not all stores charge a fee for paper bags. For example, Target will give you a free paper bag at check-out if you don’t have a reusable bag. If you do have a reusable bag, you’ll get a 5-cent discount at check-out.

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