- New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets, two grocers under West Coast-based Good Food Holdings, plan to stop selling still water bottled in single-use plastic, fiber, aluminum or glass containers of 1 liter or less, according to an emailed press release.
- The single-use water bottle elimination will begin on April 22, Earth Day, and will remove more than 250,000 bottles annually.
- The initiative is part of a series of sustainability goals for the company, which include cutting back operational waste and energy consumption, as the grocery industry continues to ramp up efforts to combat waste and emissions.
Cutting out single-use plastics has been a focus for several grocers as the industry turns to efforts to go green. For example, by 2025, Giant Eagle plans to eliminate single-use plastics, while Kroger aims to be free of single-use plastic bags by that time. Meanwhile, grocers have continued to join the “Beyond the Bag” initiative, which aims to cut out plastic disposable retail bags with members including Albertsons, Dollar General, CVS Health, Target and Walmart.
For New Leaf and New Seasons, single-use bottles are of particular concern because of the prevalence of litter from water bottles. “Combined, beverage bottles, caps and lids make up the second most common form of ocean litter," Athena Petty, senior sustainability manager at New Seasons and New Leaf, said in the announcement.
While the grocers are cutting water bottles sized at 1 liter or less, they plan to keep selling larger sizes, along with single-serving bottles of sparkling and flavored water.
To help shoppers adjust to the initiative, New Leaf and New Seasons are offering single-serve bottles of still water from PathWater, a company that makes specialized, refillable aluminum bottles. Shoppers can also buy reusable water bottles in the grocers’ home goods department. Petty said encouraging shoppers to shift to reusable bottles and containers is a low-lift environmental effort.
The other sustainability goals for the two grocers include eliminating waste to reach a 57% landfill diversion rate, awarding 10 bonus points through the Neighbor Rewards program to customers who shop with reusables and boost its e-receipts program to reduce the use of receipt paper, which is not recyclable. Additionally, both grocers have created an annual company-wide goal of cutting energy use by 5% per revenue dollar. At New Seasons, the grocery chain will look into changes to its packaging.