The Kroger Co. announced Thursday it will phase out single-use plastic bags and transition to reusable bags across its Family of Stores by 2025.
Seattle-based QFC will be the company’s first retail division to phase out single-use plastic bags, according to a company press release. QFC has a store on Kent’s East Hill. The company expects QFC’s transition to be completed in 2019.
“As part of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, we are phasing out use-once, throw-it-away plastic bags and transitioning to reusable bags in our stores by 2025,” said Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, in a press release. “It’s a bold move that will better protect our planet for future generations.”
Some estimates suggest that 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the U.S. every year. 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 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. “That’s why, starting today at QFC, we will begin the transition to more sustainable options. This decision aligns with our Restock Kroger commitment to live our purpose through social impact.”
Kroger also has a goal to divert 90 percent of waste from the landfill by 2020. Of the waste diverted today, 66.15 million pounds of plastic and 2.43 billion pounds of cardboard were recycled in 2017.
The company’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue Program sent more than 91 million pounds of safe nutritious food to local food banks and pantries in 2017. Kroger provided more than 325 million meals to families in need last year, in food and funds combined.
Kroger has 2,779 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, including Fred Meyer, which has two stores in Kent, one on the East Hill and one on the West Hill.