The hits on plastic just keep on coming.
On Thursday, Kroger, the United States’ largest supermarket company, announced plans to phase out the use of single-plastic bags in all of it stores — a move that will help reduce 123 million pounds of waste each year, Rodney McMullen, CEO of Kroger, said in a statement.
The goal is to fully eliminate the use of plastic bags at Kroger by 2025. QFC, a Seattle-based supermarket chained owned by Kroger, is expected to ditch plastic bags as early as 2019.
“First and foremost, we know fans will say, ‘wahoo, that’s pretty ambitious.’ Skeptics will say, ‘why would it take so long?’ Both are fair,” Jessica Adelman, group vice president of corporate affairs at Kroger, told Mic in an email. Reusable bags may take some adjusting to, she said. “We want to give our customers time to transition to a new way of doing things.” Adelman added that reusable bags are currently available to customers.
The supermarket company has already committed to a number of plastic-reduction initiatives, including redesigning its milk jugs and increasing recycled content in product packaging, Adelman said.
In April, a study by the Danish Environmental Protection Agency found that plastic bags may actually have less environmental impact than reusable alternatives, like organic cotton bags. Still, a number of countries like Australia, China and the U.K., and cities like San Francisco, have taken steps to leave the single-use plastic bag behind, putting taxes on it or banning it outright.
And if recent bans on single-use straws by restaurants, corporate conglomerates — and entire cities — is any indication, this is only a sign of things to come.