Grocers Celebrate Earth Month

Collaborative efforts loop in suppliers, shoppers and team members on actions to protect the planet
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Kroger bag
This month, Kroger is offering specially designed Zero Hunger | Zero Waste reusable bags featuring favorite "Kroji" characters.

As Earth Month gets underway, grocers are kicking off initiatives demonstrating their respective commitments to sustainability. Like a diverse ecosystem, these efforts cover many aspects of the business, going back to the earliest parts of the supply chain and extending to the future lifecycle of consumable products and operational resources.

Below are some examples of retailers’ Earth Month activities aimed at improving awareness, action and progress:

  • The Kroger Co. shared details of its month-long focus on sustainability. A register campaign runs through April 30, through which shoppers can round up purchases to benefit the World Wildlife Fund (WWF); Kroger's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation will match customer donations up to $50,000. The retailer is also offering new Zero Hunger | Zero Waste reusable bags, donating $1 of each sale to its foundation. Since launching its signature impact plan in 2017, Kroger has rescued 582 million pounds of surplus fresh food, donated more than three billion meals directed to communities and met its goal of establishing food waste recycling programs in 95% of its stores.  
  • Kroger banners and individual locations are amplifying efforts in their own way, too. A Dillons store in Topeka, Kan., for example, is giving away compost to local consumers to use in their yards and gardens. The grocer is collaborating with Quest Proganics and Missouri Organics to donate 50 yards of compost generated from store food waste.  
H-E-B recycle
H-E-B updated its collection bins for plastic bags and other eligible plastic items, such as other retail shopping bags, produce bags, bread bags, dry cleaning bags and newspaper bags.
  • Texas-based H-E-B took the opportunity of the opening day of Earth Month to share details of its year-round sustainability efforts. The retailer announced $250,000 in new funds through its H-E-B Community Recycling Grants program, which will support projects in Bandera County, Burleson County, Fayette County, and Ingleside, Texas, expanding collection and improving recycling access for nearly 130,000 Texans. The retailer also revealed it is teaming up with Keep Texas Beautiful to establish a first-ever community recycling drop-off center in the town of Floresville and is working with 675 schools throughout the state on a separate plastic bag recycling challenge. On Earth Day, April 22, H-E-B will announce the names of schools who collated the most plastic bags and award them with store gift cards. The grocer’s team members are getting into the green spirit, too, as they volunteer at events such as the Talking Bees Roadshow from the Healthy Hive Foundation. 
  • This month, New Seasons Market is rolling out a Building Better Soil for a Healthier Future program, working with 25 brands who will donate 1% of their sales to benefit the nonprofit Zero Foodprint program. The grocer will also give 1% of its private label product sales to that cause, which helps farmers and ranchers implement regenerative agricultural practices.
  • ALDI, which previously announced sustainability milestones related to the elimination of single-use plastic bags in stores and the deployment of eco-efficient refrigerants, is giving shoppers a chance to reduce their own carbon footprint through product purchases. This month’s list of ALDI Finds, for example, includes a sustainable chocolate bar, a countertop compost bin and an outdoor bee house, among other eco-friendly items. 
  • Hannaford Supermarkets is providing sustainability tips to shoppers. The retailer's registered dietitians share suggestions on how to lower at-home food waste, from reinventing leftovers to storing food for optimal shelf life to finding a “second life” for produce that might be past its prime.

Later this month, Progressive Grocer will publish its list of the 10 Most Sustainable Grocers for 2024.

Cincinnati-based Kroger is No. 4 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. San Antonio-based H-E-B is No. 15 on The PG 100, while Batavia, Ill.-based ALDI U.S. is No. 26. Scarborough, Maine-based Hannaford's parent company Ahold Delhaize USA, a division of Zaandam, Netherlands-based Ahold Delhaize, is No. 10 on The PG 100. 

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