Kroger announced that it will eliminate single-use plastic bags from its stores by 2025.
The company owns a sprawling list of supermarkets, including Fry's, and it will transition to reusable bags at its nearly 2,800 locations across the nation. It's part of its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste initiative.
"We want to respect our customers, this is a change and they've used plastic bags a long time so we value their shopping habits and again it's a slow transition to meet their needs and to educate them to get them to use reusable bags," said Pam Giannonatti, the Fry's public relations specialist.
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.
"We are going to encourage reusable bags, again it's best for the environment long term," Giannonatti said.
A tour of the City of Phoenix recycling plant showed that residents are recycling plastic bags mistakenly. A line of workers sort out the items, and a lot of the bags that were seen appeared to be from Fry's.
"Less contamination in our recycling stream is better for the City of Phoenix and that's our No. 1 call to action -- make sure you're recycling and recycling the right stuff," Brenda Yanez, the public information officer for the city's Public Works Department said.
Yanez said that at least one hour of time is wasted every day at the recycling facility because of plastic bags.
"They get wrapped around--because it's a thinner, softer plastic -- around the equipment and sometimes it stops the whole process at the recycling facility and you actually have to have people go in there and cut them out," Yanez explained.
Yanez said that oftentimes residents, with good intentions, put their recyclables in plastic bags in the recycling bins. The Public Works Department is hoping that fewer bags will have a positive impact on its facilities.
"We listen to our customers and we listen to our communities and we join them that it is time to reduce single-use plastic bags. We can hear what's happening to the environment," Giannonatti said.
There is no timeline available for when Arizona stores will stop providing plastic bags.
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