By the year 2025, nearly 2,800 Kroger stores in the United States will stop offering single-use plastic bags to pack groceries and will instead offer reusable bags for customers.
This decision is part of the supermarket chain’s commitment to improving the environment, said Kroger’s CEO, Rodney McMullen, in a press release.
“As part of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, we are phasing out use-once, throw-it-away plastic bags and transitioning to reusable bags in our stores by 2025. It’s a bold move that will better protect our planet for future generations,”explained McMullen.
The company’s first retail division that is set to eliminate single-use plastic bags will be Seattle-based QFC. Kroger expects this transition to be completed in 2019.
Some estimates suggest that 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the U.S. every year.
Currently, less than five percent of plastic bags are recycled annually in America and single-use plastic bags are the fifth-most common single-use plastic found in the environment by magnitude.
The state of California enacted a law prohibiting the use of plastic bags in grocery stores and large supermarket chains, while in many cities around the country there are regulations that prohibit the use of plastic bags or charge a small fee to use one.
Kroger will solicit customer feedback and work with NGOs and community partners to ensure a responsible transition.
“We listen very closely to our customers and our communities and we agree with their growing concerns,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger’s executive vice president and COO.
“That’s why, starting today at QFC, we will begin the transition to more sustainable options. This decision aligns with our Restock Kroger commitment to live our purpose through social impact,” said Donnelly.
Kroger’s announcement of phasing out use of plastic bags follows several other Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiatives at scale, including:
- Kroger’s goal to divert 90% of waste from the landfill by 2020. Of the waste diverted today, 66.15 million pounds of plastic and 2.43 billion pounds of cardboard were recycled in 2017.
- Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue Program sent more than 91 million pounds of safe nutritious food to local food banks and pantries in 2017. Kroger provided more than 325 million meals to families in need last year, in food and funds combined.
Last Monday, August 20th, Kroger was named to Fortune magazine’s Change the World 2018 list, debuting in the sixth spot.
The recognition highlights the work of 57 big companies across the world using their resources to solve societal problems. The company was recognized for its social impact plan Zero Hunger | Zero Waste.