In line with the plastic-free movement that is sweeping the U.S., The Kroger Co. revealed its plans to completely phase out single-use plastic bags and switch to reusable options across all banners by 2025.
The retailer will begin its efforts in its Quality Food Centers (QFC) Seattle division, which is expected to be completely plastic bag-free by 2019.
Ditching plastic bags is another step Kroger is taking toward its goal of producing zero waste by 2025. It was recently recognized for its efforts on Fortune magazine's Change the World List.
Plastic bags have been sparking debate as certain regions ban them altogether and retailers work to either fight the change or get ahead of the game by phasing them out on their own. For example, when New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo introduced a program bill that would ban single-use plastic bags in April, Wegmans warned that the move would have "unintended consequences" as "it takes seven tractor trailers to transport the same number of paper bags as plastic bags carried by one tractor trailer," the retailer said. "It also takes about 90% more resources and energy to make and recycle paper compared to plastic," adding that it also takes additional resources to create reusable bags.
Kroger, on the other hand, plans to make what Chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen calls a "bold move" that will "better protect our planet for future generations.”
Mike Donnelly, EVP and COO of Kroger, said retail officials have listened closely to its customers and agree with the growing concerns.
“That’s why, starting today at QFC, we will begin the transition to more sustainable options." he said. "This decision aligns with our Restock Kroger commitment to live our purpose through social impact.”
Kroger said it would solicit customer feedback and work with nongovernmental organizations and community partners to ensure a responsible transition.