The Factoria QFC (pictured here) was part of the phase out pilot last November that included five other locations in the area. Currently, the stores only have paper bags and offer reusable bags for purchase at the checkout aisles. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

The Factoria QFC (pictured here) was part of the phase out pilot last November that included five other locations in the area. Currently, the stores only have paper bags and offer reusable bags for purchase at the checkout aisles. Kailan Manandic / staff photo

QFC to stop offering plastic bags in all stores on April 1

The commitment comes early as its parent company, Kroger, pledged to end plastic bag use by 2025.

Kroger’s Quality Food Center (QFC), recently announced it will no longer offer single-use plastic bags in any stores starting April 1, six years ahead of Kroger’s 2025 commitment.

The Bellevue-based supermarket chain, with numerous locations throughout the Eastside, had previously committed to banning all plastic bags in its stores by the end of 2019, but decided to phase out the bags even earlier after a successful pilot in Eastside stores.

“We saw how it worked in the stores and what the customers’ response was,” QFC spokesperson, Zach Stratton said. “It was all positive. So we took a step back, re-evaluated and decided to move on this quick time frame with the rest of our remaining stores.”

In total, five Eastside locations served as a pilot for the phase-out. They were chosen due to their proximity to other locations that fall within a legislative bag ban.

“You know how environmentally friendly we are in the Pacific Northwest,” Stratton said. “We listen to our customers closely and they’re telling us this is something that they want and that we need to do. We’re taking that to heart.”

The phase out is part of Kroger’s Zero Hunger Zero Waste campaign that aims to help end hunger in the communities they serve and eliminate waste throughout the company. The mission will not only donate more food to those in need, but donate healthy foods and eventually move to primarily reusable bags.

QFC also will be donating funds to The Nature Conservatory throughout the month of April — for each 99-cent reusable bag purchased, the supermarket chain will donate $1, up to $10,000. The Nature Conservatory is a charity organization that was started in 1951 and aims to promote conservation and find solutions to related issues.

“We know that simply switching from single-use plastic to single-use paper bags is not the long-term solution,” said Suzy Monford, president of QFC. “That’s why we are partnering with The Nature Conservancy and inviting customers to use reusable bags and join us as we work to create zero waste neighborhoods.”

“You still have people who use them for walking their dogs or small trash bins in their home,” Stratton added. “So we want to provide other options for that and then still move in the environmentally friendly way we are now in getting rid of these plastics.”

According to Stratton, QFC goes through millions of plastic bags each year. Plastic bags can spend hundreds of years decomposing in landfills and often end up in streams, rivers, lakes and roadsides.

The change will only affect about half of QFC locations, the others are already in jurisdictions with a legislative plastic bag ban. QFC will be the first of Kroger’s chains to complete the transition to no plastic bags. Currently, each QFC also offers plastic bag recycling.

“With Earth Day approaching, we saw this as the perfect opportunity to eliminate plastic bags and take the next step in our Zero Hunger Zero Waste journey,” Monford said. “We listen closely to our customers and our communities, and we agree with their growing concerns about continuing to rely on use-once, throw-it-away plastic bags. More and more, customers are telling us that using a bag once and throwing it away just doesn’t make sense.”

Fred Meyer, another Kroger supermarket chain, will also phase out plastic bags by 2025 and is currently working to find the best option.

“We’re excited to lead the way in this,” Stratton said. “It’ll be exciting for us to be able to say we don’t have any single-use plastic bags in the front of our stores and be done with them. We ask customers to go on this journey with us, be patient with our stores, and know they’re working through this as well. But we’re doing it for a good reason — we know it’s the right thing to do, and our customers are asking for it.”

More in Business

Kailan Manandic / Staff photo
                                The Boutique Lounge offers a shopping space and cushioned chairs for locals to gather and hang out.
The Boutique Lounge open to South End shoppers

The shop opened on May 6 after years of planning.

The data visualized here was compiled from Apartment List’s monthly rent reports. See an interactive chart below. Kailan Manandic / data illustration
Eastside rental market could balance out with the region

Eastside rent medians increased by 2.8 in the past year, a decrease in growth from previous years.

The Mercer Island Chamber of Commerce held a Ribbon Cutting Ceremony for the Christian Science Reading Room on April 30. Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo
The City of Mercer Island welcome the Christian Science Reading Room to the business community

An open house and Ribbon Cutting Ceremony was held on April 30.

More + Merrier offers four different collections that include customizable, modular kits. Each kit offers different options, including hanging decor, tableware, tabletop decor and napkins. Photo courtesy of Stephanie Ben-Zeev
Local business owner helps throw parties across the country

Stephanie Ben-Zeev recently launched More + Merrier, an e-commerce shop for custom party decor.

Stephanie Quiroz/staff photo 
                                Paige Bisbee, of Bellevue is a paid employee at Davis Wright Tremaine in Bellevue. As part of the law firm’s inclusive program, Bisbee distributes snacks and office supplies to her co-workers.
People with disabilities find purpose through new employment opportunities

Paige Bisbee of Bellevue finds employment at Davis Wright Tremaine

Nintex acquires EnableSoft in company acquisition

Bellevue-based company is a world leader in workflow automation industry.

Inventory is up; buyers, sellers prep for spring

A real estate snapshot from John L. Scott Real Estate.

Mercer Island Youth and Family Services seeks community support

MIYFS will host its annual breakfast this Wednesday and hopes for generosity after Prop. 1 failure.

Stocks stay strong for Smartsheet, Microsoft, T-Mobile

Fortune 500 functionality, Hololens technology, 5G network contribute to growth

A comparison of how many life science companies are on the Eastside and in other Washington cities. Illustration by Kailan Manandic
Life science hits its stride on the Eastside

Life science has strong roots in Washington, contributing economically and scientifically.

Kaelyn Adams (Front), owner of Barre Rev, leads a barre class at her new location. Multiple members from the previous studio, The Dailey Method, joined Barre Rev to help support Adams and her goal to be a community hub. Photo courtesy of Kaelyn Adams
Local fitness instructor opens first Barre studio on the Island

Kaelyn Adams opened her own Barre studio after years of fitness instruction and massage therapy.

Praerit Garg joins Smartsheet as CTO

Bellevue-based company employs 760 people