The world we live in is no stranger to plastic waste. Kroger is one of America’s leading grocery stores, as such, they need to be a leading example for the environment and its sustainable practices.
I have taken grocery shopping into my heart and found ways to help minimize my plastic contributions. I believe this is one of the easiest ways for someone to decrease their carbon footprint and stay aware of their plastic usage.
When my boyfriend and I lived in Salt Lake City, Utah for a minute, we found ourselves in an entirely different world when it came to waste awareness. People were not only recycling but they were using reusables. My co-workers packed lunch every day, they had reusable and washable food containers and storage bags, everyone used water bottles. This list goes on and on.
Photo by Thomas Konings on Unsplash
The culture we found ourselves in was beautiful and inspiring. We wondered why other states and local communities hadn’t already adopted at least a few of these environmental awareness changes. Now, that doesn’t mean SLC is all eco-friendly, because every city has its vices.
One method my boyfriend and I observed was how locals went grocery shopping. We had never seen so many people use reusable shopping bags instead of the easy plastic bag. This was so impressive and made us really think about our personal wasteful tendencies.
We shopped at Smith’s, a sister store to Kroger. Being from Ohio, I grew up with Kroger and it’s always been my preference for grocery shopping. When we moved to SLC, I was happy to find Kroger had an extension out west. Obviously, it was a memory of home that kept me grounded at the time. We found many shoppers using reusable bags for all their products. The cashier also told us about the “Green Bag” reward, where if you used reusable bags you would get extra rewards onto your Smith’s card. This was a fabulous incentive program and something we could both get behind and support.
Traveling Back Home
Coming back to Ohio, still shopping at Kroger, there was a sense of misunderstanding; something was missing. More like, we had noticed the obvious lack of education and drive to become eco-friendly. Everyone had plastic bags in their carts. This was no surprise but it disgusted my boyfriend and me nonetheless. On top of that, there were no incentive programs for using reusable bags! It made no sense to us. After seeing how detached and disjointed the west and eastern Kroger stores were, we swore to try and keep our plastic use to a minimum.
At this time, there is no time to dawdle or think twice about becoming greener and lowering your carbon footprint. I constantly try to think twice before making a decision about anything I know I have direct control over the carbon consequences to that decision. A bit much I know, but my major in Natural Resource Management makes it hard for me not to think that way. Watching plastics blowing through the wind, sitting in a parking lot, washed up in our waterways makes me sick, saddened, and angry.
(Photo by Morgan Vander Hart on Unsplash)
When I had mentioned to my mom all the wonderful things Utah was doing to help fight for a cleaner planet and how different it was back in Ohio, she had mentioned something about Kroger’s initiative to go “plastic-less”. This immediately started a spark of joy in me. My preferred grocer was taking initiative!
The amount of single-use plastics that most businesses use is outstandingly high, it’s hard to visualize a mental picture. Michael Browne from Supermarketnews.com explained, Kroger uses 6 Billion single-use plastics a year. Learning that my preferred grocery store litters that much in a year was heart-breaking, but all the more reason to take the lead in finding a solution.
Finding more sustainable options is imperative for our future. More and more communities are reaching out and expressing concerns about the environmental impacts our beloved companies have on the Earth and our local communities.
Michael Browne stated:
Kroger heard those concerns and have started an initiative to get rid of all single-use plastic bags by 2025.
There will be other options for shoppers to use paper bags but everyone is encouraged to buy reusable bags for their products. Paper can still be considered a waste, though recyclable, it is more expensive than plastic and is not a forever solution.
This news is just another win for the environmental community and all the campaigns to help ease our cries for greener, sustainable habits.
My Eco Practices
My boyfriend and I had started to collect reusable shopping bags in Utah and chose to use those as much as possible when grocery shopping. From time to time, we would forget to bring them along, so instead, we would ask for paper bags instead of plastic. Our paper bags serve a multitude of purposes. One being we put our recycling in the bags so all of it can be put into recycling. We also use the paper bags as cat toys, because Kitten loves to hide in them and attack us.
I recently received reusable produce bags for Christmas. These bags are amazing! They are made with sustainable cotton, washable, reusable, and safe to use with food. I can collect my produce in these bags without looking for small plastic bags. I felt like the plastics suffocated my produce and didn’t keep them very fresh, as well as the litter factor.
This is what my shopping looks like when I take advantage of my eco-resources. My shopping experience has turned into a truly happy one. I feel good that I am making a difference in my carbon footprint and waste production. Though going 100% waste-free is very hard, we can make small changes to make the overall biggest impact possible.
Check out sustainable and reusable methods for your grocery trips. Everything makes a difference. Become aware. Waste less.