In May, Roche Bros. distributed its 5 millionth ECOgrade bag. The non-plastic alternative consists of a patented formula that employs a combination of organic material and minerals.
The bags are photodegradable and if littered, they will begin to breakdown in under three weeks. Within 240 days, exposure to sunlight will have rendered them fully degraded.
The Massachusetts grocer began using the ECOgrade bags in 2016 as an alternative to traditional plastic options.
According to a statement released by the company, Roche Bros. has “steadily increased use of ECOGrade bags to offer more customers a sustainable and environmentally responsible way to carry home their groceries.”
“We have been pleased with the performance, price and value of the GXT Green ECOgrade bags,’’ said Roche Bros. Supermarkets Director of Facilities and Maintenance Richard Ordway in a prepared statement.
“They’ve proven to be a key element of our commitment to environmental responsibility and sustainability, and when customers even notice a difference, we hear consistently how much they like the ECOgrade bags.”
GXT Green Inc. produces the environmentally friendly bags. The company has sold more than 4 billion degradable bags in India via a wholesaler network. Roche Bros. is the only announced supermarket customer in the U.S. for the ECOgrade product.
A representative of GXT said that the company is actively looking to expand its business stateside.
The company’s COO and SVP of Worldwide Salea Michael C. Vanin praised Roche Bros. for its distribution landmark in the same release.
“To reach the milestone of 5 million bags distributed to satisfied shoppers, and especially with such a respected and admired grocery leader as Roche Bros., is enormously gratifying for GXT Green,” Vanin said.
“We look forward to continuing to educate merchants, shoppers, environmental regulators and legislators about our proven, dependable and ecologically responsible alternative to banning or taxing traditional plastic bags.”
The bags aren’t the only sustainability initiative for Roche Bros. In 2012, the company cleared another green hurdle when it announced a seafood traceability program called Sea Trace, which was launched in tandem with the store’s seafood partner, Foley Fish.
"At Roche Bros. we have always been committed to offering responsibly harvested seafood," Seafood Director Arthur Ackles said in a prepared statement during the initiative’s rollout. "We are now taking steps to better communicate that commitment to our customers, beginning with an unparalleled level of traceability from the store all the way back to the boat."
The commitment to responsible sourcing mandated that Roche Bros. provide “increased transparency” regarding the seafood sold in its stores and bound the company to using reputable harvesters. The selections must also be naturally processed.
Seafood selections at Roche Bros. stores are outfitted with codes that allow customers to see the very boat that harvested the item, the location it was caught and a description of the fishing gear used.
Roche employs more than 4,800 associates across its 20 locations. Stores in its network operate under the Sudbury Farms and Brothers Marketplace banners as well.