Kroger to phase out single-use plastic bags

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Kroger to phase out single-use plastic bags

Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen continues to steer retailer toward more sustainable initiatives.

In another step to show how serious it is about its zero waste commitment, Cincinnati-based The Kroger Co. says it will phase out single-use plastic bags and transition to reusable bags across its family of stores by 2025.

Kroger-owned Quality Food Stores (QFC), a supermarket chain based in Seattle, will be the company's first retail division to phase out single-use plastic bags. The company expects QFC's transition to be completed in 2019.

"It's a bold move that will better protect our planet for future generations,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger's chairman and CEO, in a press release announcing the initiative.

Some estimates suggest that 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the U.S. every year, according to Kroger. Currently, less than 5 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.

Kroger will solicit customer feedback and work with non-governmental organizations (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, in a statement. "That's why, starting today at QFC, we will begin the transition to more sustainable options.”

Last year, Kroger implemented its Zero Hunger/Zero Waste plan to end hunger in the communities it calls home and to eliminate waste across the company by 2025.

Kroger said it aims to divert 90 percent of waste from the landfill by 2020. In 2017, Kroger sent more than 91 million pounds of food to local food banks and pantries.

Earlier this week, 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.