HOUSTON — In the next five years Kroger Southwest here plans to lower energy usage by 50% — an average decrease of 2% to 4% annually.
Kroger Southwest has a task force of energy-conservation technicians whose sole focus is to identify ways stores can operate more efficiently. Since 2000, the division has reduced energy consumption in its stores by 30%. "We're always looking for ways to reduce waste, conserve energy and better our transportation systems," says Bill Breetz, president of the Kroger Southwest Division, in a statement. "By continually educating our associates, introducing new approaches and investing in programs, we've been able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint as a company and contribute to global sustainability efforts."
For example, the Kroger division is investing in a new eco-friendly initiative called "Lighting Reinvention," which will significantly cut down the amount of kilowatts used in stores over a five-year period. The Kroger "SAVE 5" program, which was developed by the retailer's facility engineering team, equips associates with five easy habits that can be practiced to reduce waste and energy at store level. The program educates associates about the importance of closing doors; turning lights off; shutting down equipment after use; maintaining specified temperatures in refrigeration cases; and not overstocking products.
In 2010, Kroger sold five million reusable bags to reduce plastic bag use by 159 million. Kroger Southwest encourages the continued use of environmentally friendly bags and invites customers to recycle plastic through its everyday "Bag-2-Bag" program. Since the program's inception in 2008, more than 6.1 million pounds of plastic has been collected and recycled collectively in Greater Houston, East Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth and Louisiana.