Did Kroger Make a Mistake You Should Avoid in Your Retail Business?
Understanding the Pros and Cons of Reusable Bags
Kroger, the largest grocery store in the U.S., recently made the bold move to ban single-use plastic bags throughout their stores. In a written statement, the CEO cites efforts to reduce trash and improve the environment as motivating factors behind the ban. Critics argue the ban is simply a PR stunt and will not achieve the intended goals. Find out if reusable bags are better or worse for the environment and how your brand should navigate the plastic bag ban dilemma.
Bag Ban Details
Kroger’s ban will roll out at 63 QFC stores, a subsidiary brand of Kroger located in the Pacific Northwest, in 2019. The plan is to ban all disposable plastic bags in all stores by 2025. This ban is poised to eliminate 123 million pounds of plastic trash that currently ends up in landfills. Kroger currently sells reusable bags and they plan to ramp up inventory to meet the increased demand. Ultimately, Kroger plans to look into other ways to reduce additional types of plastic, too.
Impact of Plastic Bags
The thin film plastic bags handed out at grocery store checkouts are handy for carrying items. The lightweight construction doesn’t weigh shoppers down, but the bags are durable enough to get items purchased home. About 5 percent of the single-use plastic bags handed out are recycled. Recycling single-use plastic bags could be an effective solution, but it just hasn’t worked.
The remaining 95 percent of single-use plastic bags handed out are sent off to landfills or become litter. Plastic in landfills is a problem because it does not break down and just causes the landfills to fill up faster. With China no longer purchasing plastic for recycling any effort to divert unnecessary trash from landfills can help keep levels under control. Plastic litter can harm humans, wildlife and the environment.
Study Comparing Single-Use Bags to Reusable Recycled Bags
A Danish study has been making the rounds as indicating disposable plastic bags are better for the planet than reusable recycled bags. This study takes into account the amount of energy and resources that go into production and disposal of both single-use and reusable bags. This study then calculated how many times a reusable bag must be used to match the carbon emissions and resource drain that go into manufacturing single-use bags.
For what it’s worth, polypropylene non-woven recycled bags need to be used 52 times and polypropylene woven recycled bags need to be used 45 times to match the energy and materials that go into single-use bags.
In this study single-use plastic bags were counted as being used twice — once to carry groceries home and a second time as a garbage bag. Using disposable plastic bags as garbage bags reduces the odds of the bag being recycled. The bag is likely to end up in a landfill or incinerated. Recycling is the only environmentally friendly solution.
The Danish study found that disposable plastic bags with rigid handles had the lowest environmental impact. Many articles that reference these findings fail to make this distinction. Heavy-weight disposable bags with rigid handles are not the same as the typical t-shirt plastic bags which are what Kroger is working to phase out.
Do What’s Right for Your Brand
Kroger made the decision to ban single-use plastic bags in response to customer opinion and to reduce trash. Not everyone may agree with this plan, but ultimately, Kroger needs to give their consumers what they want. If consumers want to reduce unnecessary plastic then it is in Kroger’s best interest to follow through.
As a brand, you need to follow Kroger’s lead and give your customers what they want. Kroger responded to an increased demand for sustainability by providing reusable recycled bags and your brand can do the same. From a branding perspective, reusable recycled bags help spread your branding message since the bags are designed to be used repeatedly. Each and every time your branded bags are used they will either introduce and reinforce your branding message while also making a statement regarding your brand’s stance on environmental and sustainability issues.
Easily Put Reusable Recycled Bags to Work for Your Brand
With almost 30 years in the business, we have learned a thing or two about how to streamline the process and make everything flow as quickly and efficiently as possible. We have also racked up several certifications, such as GOTS, Fairtrade, ISO 9001-2015 and FEDEX, all of which are a testimony of our strong quality and social commitment.
Whether you have a small organization and need an order of 250 bags or if you are a large brand in need of 10 million pieces per year, we are up to the challenge. Contact Factory Direct Promos to make a positive impact on your marketing and the planet.Tagged