Kroger Plans to Eliminate Plastic Bags from Its Stores

Kroger plastic bags will be gone entirely by 2025.

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In 2018, Kroger Co. announced plans to phase out single-use plastic bags at its 2,779 stores across the country. The plan includes all Kroger-brand supermarkets plus a huge family of regional brands. The chain is serious about eliminating plastic bags—the change started at Seattle-based QFC, which has around 60 locations in Washington and Oregon, and has continued from there.

In the years since Kroger’s initial announcement, the chain has had some hits and misses when it comes to phasing out plastic bags.

What Are the Changes?

According to the company, Kroger-owned supermarkets will still allow you to pack your milk, eggs and other buys in paper bags. The checkouts will also have reusable shopping bags for $1 or $2 each. Like us, you probably have a heap of reusable shopping bags around the house, too! We’ll be bringing our bags because it’s one of many ways to go green in the kitchen. It can also make self-checkout that much easier, especially with these tips for bagging groceries like a pro.

Kroger’s regional grocery brands include:

  • Dillons Food Stores
  • Food 4 Less
  • Fred Meyer
  • Harris Teeter
  • Mariano’s
  • Pick n’ Save
  • Ralphs
  • Ruler Foods
  • Smith’s

Make your next trip to Kroger more stylish with a reusable shopping bag. We adore bags with a cute pattern and serious durability! Plus, with some beginner-level origami, these bags fold to fit inside a purse.

What Changes Have Been Made So Far?

True to its word, Kroger phased out plastic bags in all QFC stores by April 2019, beating their goal deadline of January 2020 by eight months. The store also made a donation of $1 to The Nature Conservancy for each reusable bag sold in stores that month, up to $10,000.

In Cincinnati, the chain planned to phase out plastic bags by June 2021, in accordance with city laws banning plastic bags. However, in May this year, Kroger said in a statement, “We understand the City of Cincinnati will begin enforcing its single-use plastic bag ban in January 2022.” In line with the new rules, the chain is encouraging customers to bring reusable shopping bags to their stores in Cincinnati, but Kroger plastic bags will still be available.

Overall, the chain seems to be committed to ending the use of plastic bags in all its stores by 2025. Kroger has partnered with other stores like Walmart and Target for the Beyond the Bag initiative, which aims to “reimagine” plastic bags and explore reusable options. However, when asked for more updates, Kroger did not respond to an inquiry.

Why Is This Happening?

In a press release, Kroger says that 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the U.S. every year. Yikes! Kroger’s decision to phase out plastic bags adds momentum to the trend of other major retailers announcing plans to reduce waste, including brands like Starbucks saying “no thanks” to straws.

To reduce your own impact on the environment ahead of Kroger’s schedule, challenge yourself to grocery shop without plastic. If you forget your reusable tote and need to grab a single-use bag in a pinch, this is the easiest way to recycle plastic bags.

Amrita Thakkar
Amrita is an Assistant Digital Editor at Taste of Home. As a writer and amateur photographer, she often ends up applying these skills to her one great love: food. She can usually be found researching global cuisines, at the farmers market, doing yoga, or looking up new places to travel to.