- Kroger’s Fred Meyer will be the exclusive carrier of new reusable bags made from ocean-bound plastic, according to a press release. The grocer will sell four different designs from Earthwise Bag Co., each featuring ocean-themed visuals along with a message about reducing plastic waste.
- The bags are made out of 90% post-consumer plastics that would otherwise end up in the oceans and waterways. Earthwise works with a third-party organization to certify the origin of the reused plastic and to trace materials from collection through the production process.
- Each bag will have a QR code that, when scanned, leads to a video instructing shoppers on how to clean and disinfect each bag.
Adding new reusable bag options to its stores feeds into Kroger's waste-reduction mission. In 2018, the retailer announced it will phase out plastic bags at all of its banner stores by 2025. The goal was a part of its overall “Zero Hunger, Zero Waste” initiative to cut down on its environmental impact.
Due to their lightweight consistency, single-use plastic bags are particularly susceptible to finding their way into oceans through wind, rain, wastewater and floods. Consumer awareness over discarded bags, which break down into microplastics that can be harmful to marine ecosystems, has grown in recent years.
But Kroger’s goal was temporarily hindered by the coronavirus pandemic, which led many state and city governments to ban customers from using reusable bags. Some of these places have rolled back restrictions following research that has downgraded the risk of contracting the virus through contacting surfaces.
Moving beyond single-use bags is a priority for Kroger along with other retailers. In July, Kroger, Walgreens, Target, CVS Health and Walmart joined forces to speed up the development of an alternative to plastic bags.