Will Kroger’s ban mean the end of plastic bags in grocery stores?
Starting next year, Kroger will begin phasing out single-use plastic bags at all its stores with a goal of eliminating their use entirely by 2025.
The grocery giant announced that its Seattle-based QFC business will be the first division to phase out use of plastic bags by transitioning to reusable bags by the end of next year. The move is part of Kroger’s commitment to eliminate tons of material, including corrugated paper, food and plastic bags, that is transported to the nation’s landfills every year.
“The plastic shopping bag’s days are numbered,” wrote Rodney McMullen, chairman and CEO of Kroger, in an editorial on the Cincinnati Enquirer’s site. “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.”
Mr. McMullen wrote that Kroger is gradually phasing out the use of plastic bags to give customers in markets around the country the opportunity to prepare for grocery shopping without them. Kroger, which currently goes through about six billion single-use plastic bags a year, will begin shifting to paper bags while selling reusable bags in its stores for $2 or less. The goal is to get to 100 percent reusable bags by 2025.
Kroger’s CEO called on others in the food industry, including other retailers, restaurants and suppliers, to join his company in setting a goal of zero waste starting with the elimination of plastic bags.
The issue of waste goes beyond plastic bags. Kroger’s site points to a direct connection between hunger and waste in the U.S. Today, one in eight Americans face hunger on a daily basis while more than 40 percent of the food produced in the U.S. goes uneaten. Last year, Kroger sent more than 91 million pounds of food to food banks and pantries and provided more than 325 million meals to needy families.
- Kroger to Phase Out Single-Use Plastic Bags by 2025 – The Kroger Co.
- Kroger, America’s largest supermarket chain, bids farewell to the plastic shopping bag – Cincinnati Enquirer
- Zero Hunger/Zero Waste – The Kroger Co.
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS: Will Kroger’s Zero Hunger/Zero Waste initiative have an effect, positive or negative, on the company’s top and bottom lines? Do you expect most other grocery chains to follow Kroger in phasing out single-use plastic grocery bags?