Meijer Joins Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag

Gina Acosta
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Meijer Joins Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag
The move is among the retailer's latest efforts to reduce waste and improve recycling.

Meijer is signing on to the Beyond the Bag Initiative, which aims to identify, test and implement sustainable solutions to move beyond the single-use plastic bag.

The move is among the retailer's latest efforts to reduce waste and improve recycling, said Vik Srinivasan, SVP/Properties and Real Estate.

"Meijer operates under the philosophy that to be a good company, we must be a good neighbor," Srinivasan said. "We are committed to lessening our impact on the environment and believe our participation in this initiative is an important step in keeping our communities clean for generations to come."

Meijer joins Hy-Vee, CVS Health, Target and Walmart, as well as The Kroger Co., Walgreens and Dick’s Sporting Goods, in the agreement. The three-year collaboration is working to find a replacement for the single-use plastic bag that's functional, easy for customers to use and better for the environment. The initiative also engages with stakeholders, including suppliers, materials recovery facilities, municipalities, advocacy groups and others to support this collaborative approach designed to promote viable market solutions that can be scaled, and bring value to retailers and customers.

Meijer has made significant strides in recent years regarding its commitment to sustainable practices and the reduction of plastic waste in our environment, said Erik Petrovskis, director of environmental compliance and sustainability for Meijer. For example:

  • In Jan. 2020, Meijer opened its first small format store, Woodward Corner Market, without single-use plastic bags. However, due to the coronavirus pandemic, the use of reusable bags has been restricted with the exceptions of customers using the company's Shop & Scan technology and at self-checkouts.
  • Since 2014, each Meijer store has placed collection bins inside its front entrance vestibules for customers to deposit clean, dry plastic bags and films, including single-use, bread, dry cleaning, produce and water softener bags. This year, Meijer expects to recycle 6 million pounds of plastic bags that are sent to its distribution centers for remanufacturing into decking.
  • In 2019, Meijer began adding a How2Recycle label on its own brand packaging to better help customers understand how to dispose of the materials. By 2022, the How2Recycle label will be on all True Goodness by Meijer packaging.
  • In 2019, Meijer set a goal that Meijer brand packaging will be made from 100%% reusable, recyclable or compostable materials by 2025.

"Lessening our impact on the environment through increased recycling efforts is an issue that is important to us and our customers, and one that we are working diligently to address," Petrovskis said. "I look forward to reviewing the innovative solutions that will stem from this collaboration."

Grand Rapids, Michigan-based Meijer operates more than 256 supercenters and grocery stores throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The company is No. 19 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer's 2020 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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