Kroger to phase out single-use plastic bags

Transition to reuseable bags only by 2025

PARKERSBURG — Kroger will eliminate single-use plastic bags and transition to reusable bags in stores by 2025, the company announced.

The first retail division to phase out the bags will be the Seattle-based QFC, which the company expects 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,” Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s chairman and CEO, said. “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. Less than 5 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.

Local Kroger’s are in the Mid-Atlantic region.

“While we don’t know when this will take place for Mid-Atlantic, we do know that QFC will be the first division to complete this transition in 2019. All other divisions will transition by 2025,” said Allison McGee, corporate affairs manager, Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division.

Kroger will solicit customer feedback and work with groups and the community to ensure a responsible transition.

“We listen very closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns,” Mike Donnelly, executive vice president and COO of Kroger’s, said. “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, including:

* Kroger’s goal to divert 90 percent 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 distributed 91 million pounds of 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.

The Kroger Mid-Atlantic Division operates 108 stores, 113 pharmacies and 87 fuel centers and an expanding number of online ordering locations in Virginia, West Virginia, Kentucky, Tennessee and Ohio. It is Based in Roanoke, Va.