Grocery chain Aldi is implementing a major change at all of its stores across the United States — and if you’re a forgetful shopper, it might be a bit of an inconvenience.
The German-based supermarket is going to become the first major retailer in the country to completely eliminate plastic shopping bags from its over 2,3000 stores across the United States.
Shoppers must now either bring their own reusable bags, or purchase a reusable bag at checkout.
Grocery stores across the country have been pushing for customers to bring reusable bags by charging a few cents for plastic bags at checkout. But not everyone has bought into the behavior — or perhaps some simply make a quick grocery run without remembering to bring their reusable bag — which is why many have continued to use the plastic bags.
It’s no secret that plastic bags have been a major driver of waste and environmental damage. In 2013, research showed that Americans used over 100 million plastic bags each year, which is about 300 bags per person. That number has dipped significantly as many states and companies have helped guide consumer behavior, but research suggests that the average American still uses about 140 plastic bags each year.
Aldi is clearly making this move in an effort to cut that down even further.
“This will save over 4,400 tons (nearly nine million pounds) of plastic from circulation each year,” Jason Hart, Aldi’s CEO, said in a statement.
Aldi isn’t the first chain to remove plastic bags from its stores. Walmart, for example, reportedly eliminated single-use plastics and paper bags from stores in New York, Connecticut, and Colorado last year.
But Aldi is the first chain to do it across all it stores with the company not waiting for state lawmakers to pass laws in all locations of the grocery chain.
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