The sole purpose of a grocery store used to be to deliver quality products to consumers at an affordable price, but some supermarkets are changing the game. Many shoppers, employees and nonprofits have expressed concerns about the abundance of plastic bags handed out in stores. (According to ConservingNow, over 380 billion plastic bags, sacks and wraps are consumed in the U.S. each year.) Even with the ability for consumers to recycle their plastic bags, less than ten percent of all plastic actually gets recycled in the United States. It’s evident that our country has an environmental crisis and Kroger wanted to do something about it. As one of the largest major retailers in the United States, Kroger made a promise to be more sustainable by committing to phase out plastic bags by 2025.

If you’re considering taking this leap to sustainability, go ahead and make the jump. Kroger may have kick started the idea, but they won’t be the only brand to do so. Change is right around the corner and if you start now, you can be one of the leading forces driving it. While a majority of the benefits come from an environmental aspect, you’ll gain more than just cleaner city streets. By switching from plastic to reusable bags, you bring communities together. By promoting your commitment to the environment, you’re sending a message that you’re willing and passionate about leaving the world a better place than you found it. Consumers have a tendency to follow in the footsteps of their neighbors, friends and family. If your store initiates a “Bring your own bag” movement, you’re sure to draw in more people than you think.

Start small. Don’t let the process become overwhelming. Any step forward is a step in the right direction. Begin by educating your employees on how to encourage shoppers to buy reusable bags at the checkout and remind them to store their reusable bags in their cars for next time. Another simple step is to consider biodegradable packaging for your produce and canned goods. Start there, then work your way up.

Once you start the bring your own bag initiative, you can begin rebranding your store. Not only will this give you a defining factor among other supermarkets, it will also give local newspapers a reason to publish a positive press release about you, giving you more coverage in the media spotlight. You work hard to produce your products. We work hard to present them in the best way possible.

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