Kroger to Ban Plastic Bags at All its Stores by 2025

Kroger to Ban Plastic Bags at All its Stores by 2025
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Rodney McMullen, the CEO of Kroger, announced August 23 that the supermarket chain will phase-out plastic bags from all of its stores by 2025.

Writing for USA Today, Mullen said:

“The plastic shopping bag’s days are numbered. Major cities around the country, from Los Angeles to Chicago to Boston, have banned their use in retail settings. Our customers have told us it makes no sense to have so much plastic only to be used once before being discarded. And they’re exactly right.”

He went on to say:

“As America’s largest grocer, we recognize we have a responsibility to cut down on unnecessary plastic waste that contributes to litter, harms the environment and, in some cases, can endanger wildlife.”

Kroger includes major chains such as Ralphs, Harris Teeter, Food 4 Less, Pick ‘n Save, and, obviously, Kroger. [2]

The company will begin phasing-out plastic bags at its Seattle-based supermarket chain QFC starting in 2019.

Kroger said it is also working on other waste-reducing measures, including a goal to “divert 90% of waste from the landfill by 2020.”

McMullen points out in the article that the U.S. uses 100 billion single-use plastic bags each year – enough to fill the Houston Astrodome 3 times, top to bottom, year after year. [1]

The company’s goal is to shift completely to reusable bags, but in order to give customers time to adapt to the major change, Kroger will start phasing out plastic bags slowly.

McMullen wrote:

“As always, we’re open to new ideas. We’re working with experts and partners to ease the transition, but the single most important partner we can possibly have is our customers.”

To prepare employees for this “new way of shopping,” Kroger will improve training materials for baggers. The chain will also continue to offer in-store recycling services for plastic bags and other plastic materials. Though Kroger wants “to be a trusted recycling partner” for shoppers, it recognizes that stronger action must be taken to reduce plastic pollution. McMullen said that “Kroger is committed to making a difference that can be measured.”

When 2025 rolls around, the waste generated by Kroger stores will drop by 123 million pounds per year, according to McMullen. That amount is equivalent to the weight of the entire population of Detroit.

Just imagine if every grocery store adopted similar policies.

In closing, McMullen called on other grocery chains to join them “in taking the leap to say farewell to the plastic shopping bag.”

Plastic bags are either banned or cost an additional fee in many cities and counties across America. In California, single-use plastic bags are banned at grocery stores and large retail stores across the state. However, the first U.S. state to ban plastic bags was Hawaii, which announced the plan in 2014. [2]

In 2017, Kenya introduced a ban on plastic bags that carries heavy fines or even jail time. In Australia, plastic bags have been banned in some of the country’s largest retailers and across multiple states. Meanwhile, Costa Rica has pledged to ban all single-use plastics by 2021.

Starbucks, McDonald’s, and Dunkin Donuts all recently pledged to eliminate plastics and polystyrene, with Starbucks pledging to eliminate plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020. [3]


[1] USA Today

[2] NPR

[3] CNN Money

Featured image source: AOL