If you hated Kroger’s yellow bags, take comfort: Soon you’ll never have to see any plastic Kroger bag again.
As part of the Cincinnati-based company’s zero waste campaign, Kroger announced today that it will phase out the use of all single-use plastic bags by 2025.
Stores in the company’s Seattle-based QFC chain will go first; the company said they expect to complete the transition next year.
“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 chairman and CEO, in the announcement.
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“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,” according to Kroger’s announcement. “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 said it will get customer feedback to smooth the transition. And apparently customers will still be able to ask for paper bags, at least for now.
The move is expected to be a popular one: Efforts by restaurants and bars to eliminate most plastic straw use have drawn raves from environmentally focused customers.
“We listen very closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger 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.”
It’s unclear if Kroger will be able to completely eliminate plastic bags though: The company still plans to use them for produce and meat until it can come up with an alternative.
With this change, Kroger will become one of the first major retailers to move away from plastic bags. The company serves more than 9 million customers a day in 35 states and has 2,779 stores under a variety of names including Ruler Foods, Ralph’s, Dillon’s, Fry’s, Harris Teeter, King Sooper’s, Mariano’s and many more.
According to the Associated Press, there is a broader shift by companies to reduce waste, especially plastic: Disney, Starbucks, Marriott and McDonald’s are ditching plastic straws; Dunkin’ Donuts is phasing outfoam cups by 2020; Ikea plans to eliminate single-use plastic products, including straws, from its shelves by 2020.