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Kroger to phase out single-use plastic grocery bags

RICHMOND, Va. — Kroger, one of the Richmond area’s largest grocery chains, will phase out single-use plastic bags over the next few years.

The transition to reusable bags should be complete by 2025, the company announced Wednesday.

“It’s a bold move that will better protect our planet for future generations,” Kroger CEO Rodney McMullen said.

Kroger, and other grocery chains, already offer customers the option to purchase reusable bags. The company plans to work with customers to figure out the best ways to fully transition.

Kroger plans to eliminate plastic bags at stores by 2025.

The company owns a sprawling list of supermarkets including Harris Teeter, Fred Meyer, and Ralphs. QFC, a Seattle grocery chain owned by Kroger, will be the first of the stores to eliminate plastic bags. They’ll be gone at QFC by 2019.

Kroger has also been redesigning milk jugs to use 10 percent less plastic. It switched to the new container in about half of its dairy plants by the end of 2017, and will shift fully to the new containers soon.

Both are part of Kroger’s broader effort to slash 90 percent of waste to landfills by 2020.

Other companies are changing their sustainability policies too as more countries and US cities and states clamp down on straws and plastics.

California voters approved a law banning single-use plastic bags in 2016, and the law went into effect last year. New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo proposed a bill that would ban them in that state.

Starbucks, McDonalds, and Dunkin Donuts have all recently promised to eliminate plastics and polystyrene. In July, Starbucks said it would get rid of plastic straws from all of its stores by 2020.