Customers visiting Kroger’s will be familiar with their yellow plastic bags; however, soon it will be a thing of the past, as the Cincinnati-based company has put into action the objective of completely doing away with plastic bags by the year 2025. The phasing out of these single-use plastic bags is a part of Kroger’s zero waste campaign. The first stores which will be doing away with these plastic bags will be the ones in Seattle, with the company adding that by next year, they are hopeful of completing the transition.
Kroger chairman and CEO Rodney McMullen, in an announcement, said that the decision to discard use-and-throw plastic bags was in line with their Zero Hunger/Zero Waste commitment, adding that the transition to reusable bags would be completed by 2025. He added that through this move, the planet would be a better place for the future generations. According to him, the number of use-and-throw bags every year is a staggering 100 billion, and these bags are fifth-most common single use plastic by magnitude found in our environment. He added that less than 5% of plastic bags undergo annual recycling in the U.S. Kroger said that the company will first obtain user feedback, but the move is expected to be widely appreciated, especially by environmentalists. This transition will make Kroger one of the first major retailers to move away from plastic usage. Kroger will however be using plastic in case of produce and meat, till an alternative is found.
A country US can look up to in this regard is Norway, which has imbibed a very unique approach to tackle plastic pollution, and it seems to be working well. A nationwide bottle deposit scheme has ensured that up to 97% of the plastic bottles in the country are recycled. The main idea here is that the container is not possessed by the user; instead, it is given to them on loan, which they can exchange for cash or store credits. Also, the plastic producers in the country need to pay environmental tax—which means that the more plastic they recycle, the lower will be the tax. America can surely learn from this approach, as it has seen its plastic recycling rate drop from 37.3% in 1995 to merely 28% currently.