The Kroger Co. is taking the lead in simplifying the recycling of flexible plastic packaging by expanding its Simple Truth Recycling Program to include all of the grocer's private label brands, including Private Selection, Kroger Brand, Comforts, Luvsome and Abound.
Developed in partnership with waste management company TerraCycle, Kroger's newly expanded Our Brands Recycling Program encourages customers to mail in Our Brands packaging, including potato chip and snack bags, shredded cheese bags, frozen food bags, pouches, deli meat and cheese bags, and grain and bean bags, as well as flexible plastic pet food packages. The growing list of eligible products can be viewed at Kroger.com.
The expanded recycling program advances the retailer's Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social and environmental impact plan.
"Kroger continues to provide new and innovative solutions to recycle product packaging as part of our bold Zero Hunger | Zero Waste vision," said Stuart Aitken, Kroger's chief merchant and marketing officer. "The Kroger Our Brands Recycling Program offers customers an easy way to enjoy their favorite foods and support recycling in flexible plastic packaging. Our industry-leading program advances Kroger's commitment to more sustainable packaging and complements other efforts to help build a stronger recycling infrastructure in the U.S."
Kroger recently revealed major milestones achieved last year in its Zero Hunger | Zero Waste program to help create communities free of hunger and waste by 2025. For example, it expanded its food waste recycling programs to 2,285 stores, up from 2,120 stores in 2019.
"Flexible plastic consumer product packaging, including multilayer films, helps preserve food quality and freshness but is harder to recycle and not accepted in curbside programs," said Keith Dailey, Kroger's group VP of corporate affairs and chief sustainability officer. "Kroger recognizes the negative impact packaging — including plastic waste — can have on the environment. This is why we remain focused on innovative solutions for reusing and recycling packaging materials."
To take part in the Kroger Our Brands Recycling Program, consumers should:
- Sign up for the program at http://www.Terracycle.com/Kroger.
- Collect flexible plastic packaging (bags, pouches, liners and wraps) from Kroger's exclusive Our Brands, including Simple Truth, Private Selection, Kroger Brand, Comforts, Luvsome and Abound, in any available box.
- When the collection box is full, ship the box of Our Brands packaging to TerraCycle using the free prepaid shipping label available in the consumer's account on the program page.
- Start earning points for every pound of eligible packaging sent, and redeem points as donations to participating charitable organizations.
The Kroger Our Brands Recycling Program is open to any interested individual, school, office or community organization. Following receipt, the collected packaging will be cleaned and melted into hard plastic that can be remolded to make new recycled products.
"After seeing great success and excitement around the Simple Truth Recycling Program, Kroger is taking its recycling initiative to the next level with a solution for flexible plastic product packaging from all its exclusive brands," said Tom Szaky, CEO and founder of Trenton, N.J.-based TerraCycle. "Consumers participating in the program can now enjoy more of their favorite foods while minimizing their environmental impact."
Operating nationally across 20 countries, TerraCycle partners with consumer product companies, retailers and cities to recycle products and packages that would otherwise end up being landfilled or incinerated. In addition, TerraCycle works with leading consumer product companies to integrate hard-to-recycle waste streams, such as ocean plastic, into their products and packaging. Its new division, Loop, is the first shopping system that gives consumers a way to shop for their favorite brands in durable, reusable packaging.
"Our customers' response to the Simple Truth Recycling Program is a testament to its real impact and the growing consumer demand for more responsible packaging and easy recycling options," said Ben Melillo, Kroger's senior brand manager. "Through the Kroger Our Brands Recycling Program, we remain committed to doing our part and helping customers reduce their environmental footprint in simple ways that are rewarding."
Kroger's Our Brands achieved its best year ever in 2020, exceeding $26.2 billion in sales.
To facilitate even more recycling, Kroger continues to offer customers the option to bring certain types of plastic films to the store for recycling by different partners. Customers can drop off single-use plastic grocery shopping bags, dry-cleaning bags, newspaper sleeves, produce bags, bread bags, plastic cereal box liners, multipack case overwraps, and more. Select items eligible for the Kroger Our Brands Recycling Program should not be returned to the in-store collection bins.
Cincinnati-based Kroger employs nearly half a million associates who serve 9 million-plus customers daily through a seamless digital shopping experience and 2,800 retail food stores under a variety of banner names. The company is No. 3 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.