Pay-Less Supermarkets will soon be getting rid of disposable bags completely

(PNC graphic by Ricky De Guzman)

A few months after the island’s plastic bag ban went into effect, Pay-Less Supermarkets announced they’ll soon be getting rid of disposable bags completely.

Pay-Less Supermarkets’ Mission Zero Bags Wednesdays will return next week. That means that on Wednesdays, Pay-Less won’t offer plastic or paper bags to customers.

Starting April 26th, Mondays will also be Mission Zero Bags days as well.

Kate Baltazar Dodge, chief people officer, Pay-Less Supermarkets, said: “Oh we’re so excited here at Pay-Less. We have always been the frontrunners on reusable bags, introducing the use of reusable bags in Pay-Less markets as far back as 2007. And then that led the way to creating the Mission Zero Bags program. Formalizing it, the Go Green program, and then Mission Zero Bags. So really this isn’t anything new. Pay-Less has been at the forefront of encouraging environmentally practical practices in our stores.”

When the bill to ban plastic bags was introduced, Pay-Less publicly supported the bill.

It was a bill that later became controversial.

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“Change is difficult. And having to do that change at the time that it was proposed, I think, was…had more to do with everyone kind of having their druthers, because of the pandemic. And having so much to have adjusted to last year, and then having to contend with this thought that I won’t have anything to bring my groceries out with. So it was just like one of those things. Of course, Pay-Less did support that and provided testimony in support of that … absolutely,” Baltazar-Dodge said.

During the start of the pandemic, Pay-Less put a pause on its reusable bags program in the interests of safety.

However, with the island slowly beginning to reopen thanks to widespread testing and vaccination efforts, the company slowly started to phase them back in towards the end of last year.

Baltazar-Dodge said that Pay-Less decided that Earth Month, which is April, is an appropriate time to formally reinstate the program.

The company will also be taking time to educate the public about the harm done to the environment by plastic, especially microplastics.

Baltazar-Dodge said that this is the start of a year-long push to wean the public off of plastic bags.

She said that by June 2022, paper bags will be a thing of the past for the company as well.

“We do realize that it is taking a little time for some folks to be able to acquire bags, to get enough bags. We’re really excited about being able to do some bag blasts, some bag giveaways, and things like that. To help kind of not only communicate that to the community but also say, you know what, this isn’t just about that sale for us. This is really about us helping you to also be good community partners because by December 31st, plastic bags, biodegradable or not, which are the ones we use in our stores, are just gonna go away,” Baltazar-Dodge said.