Meet Kroger’s Newest Environmental Initiative

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Kroger Co. (NYSE: KR) shares saw a slight bump on Thursday after the company announced that it will phase out single-use plastic bags and transition to reusable bags across all of its stores by 2025.

One of the driving reasons for this change is that estimates suggest that 100 billion single-use plastic bags are thrown away in the United States every year. Currently, less than 5% of plastic bags are recycled annually in America, and single-use plastic bags are the fifth-most common single-use plastic found in the environment by magnitude.

Kroger’s first retail division to phase out single-use plastic bags will be Seattle-based QFC, and it is expected to be completed in 2019.

The company’s announcement follows several social initiatives under its “Zero Hunger | Zero Waste” program:

  • Kroger’s goal to divert 90% of waste from the landfill by 2020. Of the waste diverted today, 66.15 million pounds of plastic and 2.43 billion pounds of cardboard were recycled in 2017.
  • Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Food Rescue Program sent more than 91 million pounds of safe nutritious food to local food banks and pantries in 2017. Kroger provided more than 325 million meals to families in need last year, in food and funds combined.

Rodney McMullen, Kroger’s board chair and chief executive, commented:

As part of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, we are phasing out use-once, throw-it-away plastic bags and transitioning to reusable bags in our stores by 2025. It’s a bold move that will better protect our planet for future generations.

Shares of Kroger were last seen up about 0.7% at $31.95, with a consensus analyst price target of $30.50 and a 52-week trading range of $19.69 to $31.99.