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Kroger Co., which orders about 6 billion bags each year, will begin phasing out their use immediately at its Seattle-based QFC grocery stores. It expects to be plastic-bag free at the chain next year.
The company operates more than 175 stores in Texas and more than 2,600 other stores in 34 states and the District of Columbia, serving almost 9 million people daily through two dozen different grocery chains.
According to Kroger, an estimated 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the U.S. every year and less than five percent of those are recycled.
“We listen very closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns,” said Mike Donnelly, Kroger’s chief operating officer. “This decision aligns with our Restock Kroger commitment to live our purpose through social impact.”
There is a broader shift under way at major U.S. corporations to reduce waste. Disney, Starbucks, Marriott and McDonald’s are getting rid of plastic straws. McDonald’s said this year that it will use only recycled or other environmentally friendly materials for its soda cups, Happy Meal boxes and other packaging by 2025. Dunkin’ Donuts is phasing out polystyrene foam cups by 2020. Ikea plans to eliminate single-use plastic products from its shelves by 2020.
(© Copyright 2018 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)