Kroger Co. is one of the largest supermarkets in the United States, and now it will be joining many other companies around the world in phasing out the distribution of single-use plastic bags. The company plans to complete the phase-out by 2025 in an effort to reduce its production of plastic waste.
Kroger and its subsidiaries own more than 2,700 supermarkets across 35 states. One of those subsidiaries is the QFC chain. This Seattle-based supermarket chain will be the first to begin phasing out the plastic bags, with a goal to have QFC free of the bags by the end of next year.
Single-use bags are a serious concern for the environment. Americans use over 380 billion bags each year and a disturbing number of them find their way into the nation’s rivers, lakes and oceans, causing harm to marine life and the ecosystems in which they live.
Kroger will be offering alternative, multi-use options for their customers and will also be working on other ways to reduce their impact on the environment.
There are plenty of other entities that have started the ball rolling in terms of plastic phase-outs and other environmental measures. For instance, earlier this summer Starbucks announced its intention to phase out plastic straws. The state of California has actually banned single-use plastic bags in stores. Those stores that still offer them must charge a fee to use them.
Globally, many other countries have taken measure to reduce the use of plastic bags, too. Australia initiated similar bans. While larger retailers in the country reported some disgruntled customers who still wanted the single-use bags, the decision was applauded by many environmental groups and customers who are serious about reducing their carbon footprint.
Kenya actually instituted some pretty substantial fines and jail time as punishment for using plastic bags. Initial findings suggest that the waterways are indeed cleaner and foods from the area are less contaminated with plastic particles.
While the world, as a whole, still has a long way to go in the fight against plastic pollution, the steps taken by companies like Kroger and various counties and states are certainly a step in the right direction.