Today, Kroger Co. announced its plan to phase out single-use plastic bags and transition to reusable bags across its 15 brands of grocery stores by 2025, starting with Seattle-based QFC in 2019. Kroger is America’s largest grocery-only chain and the first major chain to make that type of pledge.
Every day, Americans throw away an estimated 300 million single-use plastic bags. Less than five percent of those bags are recycled, so bags are one of the most common single-use plastics found in the environment. Plastic bags don’t biodegrade and persist for hundreds of years.
“Nothing we use for five minutes should be able to pollute our environment for centuries,” said Steve Blackledge, senior conservation director for Environment America. “Kroger’s commitment is a big step forward in the Wildlife Over Waste movement.”
Environment America launched its Wildlife Over Waste campaign in late May, with the goal of getting states and local governments to eliminate single-use plastics.
“We’ve known for decades that plastic pollution is harming our wildlife,” Blackledge continued. “And we’ve all been reminded of this recently -- whether seeing horrifying video of a turtle with a plastic straw lodged in its nostril, or the images of several dozen plastic bags being removed from the bellies of whales. Kudos to Kroger for taking this action.”
Alex Truelove, U.S. PIRG’s Zero Waste campaign director, added, “Kroger’s decision reinforces that the best solution for our plastic pollution problem is the simplest: don’t use bad stuff. Not providing plastic bags will improve our environment, recycling systems, and public health. With Kroger saying that replacing single-use plastic bags with reusable ones is feasible and scalable, other grocery chains should take note and follow Kroger’s lead.”
This is just the latest socially-responsible action from Kroger. In another recent zero waste-related initiative, Kroger set a goal to divert 90 percent of its waste from the landfill by 2020.