The Kroger Co.’s QFC supermarket chain plans to stop offering single-use plastic bags at all of its stores starting April 1.
Bellevue, Wash.-based QFC said Friday that all of its locations will have displays encouraging customers to buy reusable bag. The displays will highlight the chain’s program to donate $1 to The Nature Conservancy, a global nonprofit committed to protecting the earth's lands and waters, for each reusable bag purchased in April, up to $10,000.
QFC said it also will continue to offer customers the ability to recycle plastic bags. The retailer has about 65 stores in Washington’s Puget Sound region and around Portland, Ore.
In August, The Kroger Co. announced a national plan to drop single-use plastic bags at all of its retail stores as part of its Zero Hunger/Zero Waste initiative to end hunger in the communities it serves and eliminate waste companywide. QFC committed to be Kroger's first grocery chain to phase out the plastic bags and began the process late last summer in the Seattle area.
"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 QFC President Suzy Monford. "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."
Overall, The Kroger Co. distributes 6 billion single-use bags per year. The Cincinnati-based retailer aims to eliminate single-use plastic bags across its nearly 2,800 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia by 2025.
According to Kroger, an estimated 100 billion single-use plastic bags are discarded in the United States annually. Less than 5% of plastic bags are recycled each year, and single-use plastic bags are the fifth most common, single-use plastic found in the environment by magnitude, the company reported.