Kroger is making an unprecedented move to kill plastic bags

  • Kroger is ditching plastic bags. It announced on Thursday that it plans to phase out single-use plastic bags at all locations by 2025.
  • The change applies to all of Kroger’s grocery brands, including Ralphs, Harris Teeter, and QFC, which will be the first chain to stop using single-use plastic bags.
  • Kroger’s plans to transition away from plastic bags comes at a time when retailers’ use of single-use plastic is under scrutiny.

Kroger is ditching plastic bags at check-out.

On Thursday, the grocery chain announced plans to phase out single-use plastic bags by 2025.

The change applies to all grocers under the Kroger umbrella, including Ralphs, Harris Teeter, and Dillons. QFC, a Kroger-owned chain based in the Pacific Northwest, will be the first brand to eliminate plastic bags, with the company saying that the transition will be completed at the chain in 2019.

“We listen very closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns,” Mike Donnelly, Kroger’s executive vice president and COO, said in a statement about the move. “That’s why, starting today at QFC, we will begin the transition to more sustainable options.”

Kroger plans to transition away from plastic bags and towards reusable bags as part of a larger plan to reduce waste at the company. According to a press release from the grocer, roughly 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the United States every year, with less than 5% of the bags being recycled.

The announcement comes at a time when retailers are under pressure to move away from using plastic whenever possible. In July, Starbucks announced plans to eliminate single-use plastic straws by 2020, following a number of cities who are banning the use of plastic straws.

“In 2015, plastic consumption worldwide totaled 300 million metric tonnes,” Business Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported in July. “That essentially means that for each one of the world’s 7.6 billion humans, we’re making 88 pounds of plastic a year. The packaging industry is still growing, according to Euromonitor, with flexible plastics leading the pack.”