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.

Heroes
Courtesy of Houseplant.

In America, one dumb mistake can hang over your head forever.

Nearly 30% of the American adult population — about 70 million people — have at least one criminal conviction that can prevent them from being treated equally when it comes to everything from job and housing opportunities to child custody.

Twenty million of these Americans have felony convictions that can destroy their chances of making a comfortable living and prevents them from voting out the lawmakers who imprisoned them.

Many of these convictions are drug-related and stem from the War on Drugs that began in the U.S. '80s. This war has unfairly targeted the minority community, especially African-Americans.

Keep Reading Show less
Culture

Climate change is happening because the earth is warming at an accelerated rate, a significant portion of that acceleration is due to human activity, and not taking measures to mitigate it will have disastrous consequences for life as we know it.

In other words: Earth is heating up, it's kinda our fault, and if we don't fix it, we're screwed.

This is the consensus of the vast majority of the world's scientists who study such things for a living. Case closed. End of story.

How do we know this to be true? Because pretty much every reputable scientific organization on the planet has examined and endorsed these conclusions. Thousands of climate studies have been done, and multiple peer-reviewed studies have been done on those studies, showing that somewhere between 84 and 97 percent of active climate science experts support these conclusions. In fact, the majority of those studies put the consensus well above 90%.

Keep Reading Show less
Nature
via James Anderson

Two years ago, a tweet featuring the invoice for a fixed boiler went viral because the customer, a 91-year-old woman with leukemia, received the services for free.

"No charge for this lady under any circumstances," the invoice read. "We will be available 24 hours to help her and keep her as comfortable as possible."

The repair was done by James Anderson, 52, a father-of-five from Burnley, England. "James is an absolute star, it was overwhelming to see that it cost nothing," the woman's daughter told CNN.

Keep Reading Show less
Heroes

I live in a family with various food intolerances. Thankfully, none of them are super serious, but we are familiar with the challenges of finding alternatives to certain foods, constantly checking labels, and asking restaurants about their ingredients.

In our family, if someone accidentally eats something they shouldn't, it's mainly a bit of inconvenient discomfort. For those with truly life-threatening food allergies, the stakes are much higher.

I can't imagine the ongoing stress of deadly allergy, especially for parents trying to keep their little ones safe.

Keep Reading Show less
popular