New York Wegmans stores will eliminate the use of plastic grocery bags ahead of the state's deadline for the move.

The Rochester-based company Monday announced it plans to drop plastic bags by the end of this year.

Wegmans, which operates a store in Johnson City, previously had opposed a proposal by Governor Andrew Cuomo to ban the use of plastic bags.

Last year, Wegmans sustainability manager Jason Wadsworth had said the company knows "from experience that it's possible to reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by educating customers about reusable bags."

But now that the state legislature has passed a plastic bag ban that's set to take effect March 1, Wegmans is moving to make the adjustment sooner than required by law.

In a statement released by the company, Wadsworth said: "We want to get out ahead of this because we have a lot to learn from our customers about how we can help them make the shift to resuable bags, which are far better than paper bags for the environment."

Although Wegmans now is committed to eliminating plastic bags by year's end, a spokeswoman said the company is still working on specific plans to roll out the new policy. She said the details of the move, including the timing, have not yet been finalized.

Wegmans operates nearly four dozen stores in New York state.

Plastic bags and other trash along Route 434 in Tioga County on April 22, 2019. (Photo: Bob Joseph/WNBF News)

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