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CINCINNATI -- The Kroger Co. here has launched a major plastic recycling program at its Indianapolis-based Central Division that will be fully operational in by the end of November, and will extend chainwide by the end of the year.
The chain adds the recycling program, called Bag 2 Bag, to a comprehensive, pro-active green initiative intended to reduce Kroger's impact on the environment.
The grocer has placed custom-designed barrels in each Kroger, Pay Less, Owen's, Scott's, and Hilander store across the multi-state Central Division to allow customers to deposit plastic grocery bags, dry cleaning plastic, and other types of plastic bags for recycling. The stores will recycle plastic materials, such as shrink-wrap, in the barrels.
"The impact of plastic bags on our environment has long been a concern to Kroger," said Bob Moeder, Kroger's Central Division president. "Plastic bags are one of the largest single items found in our landfills and a major source of pollution across the country."
Moeder said Kroger anticipates the program "will gain support quickly" and "generate broad participation" among customers.
Kroger's other initiatives include replacing the motors in refrigeration and freezer units with much more efficient models; and replacing lighting fixtures and light bulbs with more efficient models as stores are remodeled, according to John Elliott, the public affairs manager for the Central Division.
Earlier this year, Kroger also launched a reusable bag program entitled Choose to Reuse. The sturdy bags have a foldout bottom to stand upright when full of groceries. An insulated bag for hot or cold foods sells for $2.99, and the regular bag sells for $0.99. Kroger merchandises the reusable bags near the checkout lanes.
The Kroger Central Marketing Division operates 154 food stores, 129 pharmacies and 47 fuel centers under five banners; Kroger, Scottpis, Owen's, Hilander, and Pay Less. Most of the stores are in Indiana and Illinois, with five stores in Missouri, one in Michigan, and one in Ohio.