(WCMH) — Kroger has taken its first step toward eliminating single-use plastic bags in all of its stores.
Kroger’s Seattle-based QFC stores stopped using the single-use plastic bags on April 1.
“With Earth Day approaching, we realized this was the perfect opportunity to accelerate the removal of single-use plastic in our stores and take the next bold step in our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste journey,” said Suzy Monford, president of QFC. “We listen closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns about use-once, throw-it-away plastic bags. This is why we are leading the change and inviting our customers to join us as we help to create zero waste neighborhoods.”
Kroger announced in August that it planned to eliminate single-use plastic bags in all of its stores by 2025.
According to Kroger, some estimates suggest that 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the U.S. every year. Currently, less than five 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 by magnitude.
The grocer, based in Cincinnati, is seeking customer feedback and will be working with outside groups throughout the transition to reusable bags. Customers will be able to buy reusable bags at its stores for $1 to $2 a piece. While brown paper bags will also be available for free, Kroger says that its goal is to fully transition to reusable bags.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.