The head of one of America’s biggest retailers just banned plastic bags in a stunning announcement.

The average time a person uses a plastic grocery bag is about 12 minutes.

After being tossed in the garbage, it makes its way to a dump or possibly the ocean, where it will slowly bio degrade for 500 years.

But the plastic never really goes away. It breaks down into tiny fragments called microplastics that can carry toxins and enter our bloodstreams.


If the world fails reduce its plastic consumption our oceans are in danger of degrading into a toxic plastic soup.

Kroger, America’s second-largest retailer, just took a huge step to reduce the country's plastic consumption.

On Thursday, August 23, the company announced it would stop providing plastic checkout bags to its customers by 2025.

“The plastic shopping bag’s days are numbered,” its CEO, Rodney McMullen, wrote in a USA Today op-ed.

Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images for New York Times.

The company’s goal is to transition its customers over to using reusable shopping bags.

Kroger owns nearly 2,800 stores in 35 states and the District of Columbia, including: Cala Foods, City FoodsCo, Fred Meyer Stores, Fry's, Metro Market, Pick 'n Save, Ralphs, Food 4 Less, and Smith's Food and Drug.

According to Kroger, the ban would eliminate 123 million pounds of garbage sent to landfills each year. This would quadruple the amount it currently saves through recycling.

“Our customers have told us it makes no sense to have so much plastic only to be used once before being discarded – And they’re exactly right,” McMullen wrote.

Kate Ter Haar/Flickr

Kroger’s announcement comes at a time when state and local governments are considering legislation to either ban or protect plastic grocery bags.

California and Hawaii have banned single-use plastic grocery bags, while Arizona, Florida, Idaho, Indiana, Iowa, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, and Wisconsin have enacted laws to prevent local governments from enacting bans.

Plastic bag facts:

  • 100 billion plastic bags are used by Americans every year which require 12 million barrels of oil to manufacture. Tied together, they would reach around the Earth’s equator 773 times!
  • Nearly 2 million single-use plastic bags are distributed worldwide every minute.
  • The average American family takes home almost 1,500 plastic shopping bags a year.
  • 100,000 marine animals are killed by plastic bags annually.

Plastic bag bans have been proven to reduce plastic litter and ocean pollution.

A plastic bag tax levied in Ireland in 2002 has reportedly led to a 95% percent reduction in plastic bag litter in the country. In 2011, San Jose, California banned plastic bags, resulting in 89% percent reduction in bags found in the storm drains, 60% in the creeks and rivers, and 59% in city streets and neighborhoods.

The California ban, which took effect in late 2016, is already yielding positive results. According to the Los Angeles Times, “Plastic bags (both the banned and the legal variety) accounted for 3.1% of the litter collected from the state's beaches during the 2017 Coastal Cleanup Day, down from to 7.4% in 2010."

How you can help

Even if your local grocery store still hands out bags, you can reduce your own plastic consumption by bringing your own reusable one. Not only will you reduce your own waste, but you’ll be a good example to fellow shoppers and may cause them to rethink habits.

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Shanda Lynn Poitra was born and raised on the Turtle Mountain Reservation in Belcourt, North Dakota. She lived there until she was 24 years old when she left for college at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks.

"Unfortunately," she says, "I took my bad relationship with me. At the time, I didn't realize it was so bad, much less, abusive. Seeing and hearing about abusive relationships while growing up gave me the mentality that it was just a normal way of life."

Those college years away from home were difficult for a lot of reasons. She had three small children — two in diapers, one in elementary school — as well as a full-time University class schedule and a part-time job as a housekeeper.

"I wore many masks back then and clothing that would cover the bruises," she remembers. "Despite the darkness that I was living in, I was a great student; I knew that no matter what, I HAD to succeed. I knew there was more to my future than what I was living, so I kept working hard."

While searching for an elective class during this time, she came across a one-credit, 20-hour IMPACT self-defense class that could be done over a weekend. That single credit changed her life forever. It helped give her the confidence to leave her abusive relationship and inspired her to bring IMPACT classes to other Native women in her community.

I walked into class on a Friday thinking that I would simply learn how to handle a person trying to rob me, and I walked out on a Sunday evening with a voice so powerful that I could handle the most passive attacks to my being, along with physical attacks."

It didn't take long for her to notice the difference the class was making in her life.

"I was setting boundaries and people were either respecting them or not, but I was able to acknowledge who was worth keeping in my life and who wasn't," she says.

Following the class, she also joined a roller derby league where she met many other powerful women who inspired her — and during that summer, she found the courage to leave her abuser.

"As afraid as I was, I finally had the courage to report the abuse to legal authorities, and I had the support of friends and family who provided comfort for my children and I during this time," she says.

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via Matt Radick / Flickr

Joe Biden reversed Donald Trump's ban on transgender people serving in the military earlier this year, allowing the entire LGBTQ community to serve for the first time.

Anti-gay sentiment in the U.S. military goes as far back as 1778 when Lieutenant Frederick Gotthold Enslin was convicted at court-martial on charges of sodomy and perjury. The military would go on to make sodomy a crime in 1920 and worthy of dishonorable discharge.

In 1949 the Department of Defense standardized its anti-LGBT regulations across the military, declaring: "Homosexual personnel, irrespective of sex, should not be permitted to serve in any branch of the Armed Forces in any capacity, and prompt separation of known homosexuals from the Armed Forces is mandatory."

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