The Kroger Co. has launched a major plastic recycling program called “Bag 2 Bag.”

Within Kroger’s Central Division, this program is being combined with other environmental programs as part of a comprehensive, proactive green initiative intended to reduce Kroger’s impact on the environment. Custom-designed barrels have been placed in each Kroger, Pay Less, Owen’s, Scott’s and Hilander stores across the multi-state Central Division to allow customers to contribute plastic grocery bags, dry cleaning plastic and other types of plastic bags for recycling.

The barrels also will be used for plastic generated by Kroger’s store operations, including shrink-wrap. The program is a partnership with Hilex Poly. As part of the partnership with Kroger, Hilex Poly has pledged that 100 percent of the plastic returned by Kroger stores will be cleaned, pelletized and recycled into plastic bags.

The program will be fully operational in all Central Division stores by the end of November and will be nationwide by the end of the year.

According to the president of Kroger’s Central Division, Bob Moeder, “The impact of plastic bags on our environment has long been a concern to Kroger. Plastic bags are one of the largest single items found in our landfills and a major source of pollution across the country. We are pleased to step up in a leadership role across the country to not only recycle plastic bags, but also reduce pollution and reuse critical raw materials.

“We anticipate this program will gain support quickly in the communities we serve and will generate broad participation from our customers. We know our associates and our customers share a strong desire to protect the environment we all share,” Moeder said.

According to Central Division Public Affairs Manager John Elliott, “Kroger takes environmental issues and our role as corporate stewards of that environment very seriously. As part of our larger green initiative, Kroger has significantly reduced our energy and overall utility consumption. We are replacing motors in our refrigeration and freezer units with much more efficient models. As we remodel stores, we are replacing lighting fixtures and light bulbs with more efficient models. Kroger truly cares about our local communities and our customers tell us that they expect us to actively focus on environmental efforts.”

Earlier this year, Kroger launched a reusable bag program titled “Choose to Reuse.” Kroger offers two reusable bags in all Kroger stores in the Central Division. The bags are a special, sturdy design with a foldout bottom to stand upright when full of groceries. The insulated bag for hot or cold foods sells for $2.99 and the regular bag sells for $0.99. Display racks with reusable bags are located at the front entrance of Kroger stores near the checkout lanes.

The Kroger Central Marketing Area has 154 food stores, 129 pharmacies with 47 Fuel Centers operating under five banners; Kroger, Scott’s, Owen’s, Hilander and Pay Less, with locations primarily in Indiana and Illinois, in addition to five stores in Missouri, one in Michigan and one in Ohio.

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