Kroger Phasing Out Single-Use Plastic Bags

CC BY 2.0. velkr0

All 2,800 stores will go paper or reusable bag only... eventually.

After several European nations took steps to reduce plastic bag usage, the number of bags found in the ocean dropped dramatically. And while we may be waiting for some time to see action on the federal level here in the US, there are encouraging signs that business is beginning to get serious about single use plastics.

The latest example of this trend is an announcement from Kroger—one of the largest grocery retail chains in the world—that it will be phasing out single use plastic bags from every single one of its 2,800 stores. Once the transition is complete, customers will have to choose either paper or bring their own reusable bags.

Obviously, the sheer scale of Kroger's and its subsidiaries' reach makes this announcement worth celebrating. Not only will it directly result in fewer bags entering the environment and our oceans, but it will also make local, regional and eventually nationwide measures to reduce plastic pollution considerably more politically feasible.

That said, there is a pretty major caveat: Kroger is setting 2025 as the final end date for plastic bags in its stores. So they're not exactly rushing this one through. Still, as with any such announcement, there will obviously be progress made before that final deadline. Kroger-owned and Seattle-based QFC outlets will apparently be the first brand under the umbrella to go entirely plastic bag free, and that should be achieved by the end of next year.

I'm personally hoping that our local Harris Teeter stores (also Kroger-owned) won't be far behind, because I've lost track of how many of their bags I've found hanging in trees or clogging up our local creeks.