If you're a regular shopper at Kroger supermarkets, it's time to stock up on reusable shopping bags. As the Ohio-based news station WTOL reports, the largest grocery store chain in the U.S. will soon begin phasing out plastic bags, with plans to eliminate them completely by 2025.
Customers at Quality Food Centers (QFC), a Seattle-based subsidiary of Kroger, will be the first to notice the change. The stores will phase out single-use bags over the next year, pushing customers to rely on reusable bags made from cloth or other materials. From there, plastic bags will begin disappearing from all of the approximately 2800 Kroger-owned grocery stores across the country.
Up to 1 trillion plastic bags are used worldwide each year, and only about 5 percent of them are recycled. Even when they are recycled, plastic bags are notoriously hard for recycling plants to deal with, since the thin plastic acts like a magnet for food waste.
Because of growing recognition of the environmental impact of all that trash, the movement to switch to reusable bags has been gaining steam over the last decade, and a number of major cities have implemented bag fees or banned single-use bags altogether. Kroger now joins the small group of supermarket chains taking initiative on the matter on a national level.
The bag phase-out is part of Kroger's larger Zero Hunger | Zero Waste sustainability plan. The initiative aims to relieve hunger in the stores' local communities as well as reducing landfill waste by 90 percent by 2020.