CINCINNATI – The nation’s largest grocery chain has begun to phase out the use of plastic bags as more Americans grow uncomfortable with their environmental impact.
Kroger Co. will start Thursday at a chain of its QFC stores in and around Seattle, with the goal of using no plastic bags at those stores next year. The company said it will be plastic bag-free at all of its nearly 2,800 stores by 2025.
Kroger Co., which also owns Fred Meyer, orders about 6 billion bags each year for its stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, which cater to almost 9 million people daily through two dozen different grocery chains.
The grocer, based in Cincinnati, is seeking customer feedback and will be working with outside groups throughout the transition to reusable bags. Customers will be able to buy reusable bags at its stores for $1 to $2 a piece. While brown paper bags also will be available for free, Kroger said its goal is to fully transition to reusable bags.
“We listen very closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger’s chief operating officer. “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.”
There is a broader shift under way at major U.S. corporations to reduce waste. Disney, Starbucks and some Spokane coffee shops, Marriott and McDonald’s are getting rid of plastic straws. McDonald’s said this year it will use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025. Dunkin’ Donuts is phasing out polystyrene foam cups by 2020. Ikea plans to eliminate single-use plastic products from its shelves by 2020.
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