The Kroger Co. (NYSE : KR ) announced today 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. 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. "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 five 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 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. "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's announcement follows several other Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiatives at scale, including:
- Kroger's goal to divert 90% 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.
- Kroger'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.
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. The company was recognized for its social impact plan Zero Hunger | Zero Waste.
At The Kroger Co. (NYSE : KR ), we are dedicated to our Purpose: to Feed the Human SpiritTM. We are nearly half a million associates who serve over nine million customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,779 retail food stores under a variety of banner names, serving America through food inspiration and uplift, and creating #ZeroHungerZeroWaste communities by 2025. To learn more about us, visit our newsroom and investor relations site.
SOURCE The Kroger Co.