The grocery chain Giant Eagle has announced that it will discontinue the use of single-use plastic bags at its stores in Cuyahoga County beginning on Earth Day, April 22. Cuyahoga County will join Erie County, Penn. as the first two regions where Giant Eagle will completely eliminate plastic bags from stores.
In a Tuesday press release, the company said that it has already eliminated plastic bags from its more than 250 GetGo gas stations and that the initiative in Cuyahoga County is part of its larger sustainability platform.
Stores will encourage customers to bring reusable bags for their groceries and will give away 100,000 such bags beginning on Earth Day. Those bags will be available for purchase for $0.99, and customers with reusable bags will be entered into a monthly $10,0000 drawing.
Paper bags will still be available for purchase at $0.10 a piece. (Customers purchasing food with government assistance will not be charged for paper bags.)
Giant Eagle noted that each year, Americans use tens of billions of single-use plastic bags, virtually all of which end up in landfills or otherwise littering the environment. In Cleveland, plastic bags, bottles, wrappers and other plastic debris have long been major pollutants in Lake Erie, hence the pre-pandemic legislative push by Cuyahoga County Council for plastic bag restrictions.
Those efforts were pre-empted, in part, by the Ohio statehouse, which passed a provision that forbid Ohio counties from levying fees on auxiliary containers like plastic bags. But County Councilwoman Sunny Simon, who has been the chief backer of the local legislation, said the county plans to implement a ban later this year
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