Zero Waste

Our sustainability commitment focuses on first preventing waste where possible and then diverting waste from landfills to better uses, such as recycling and composting. Managing our waste responsibly is an opportunity to protect natural resources and gain efficiencies and business value in our operations.

That's why we set ambitious goals to reduce the amount of waste generated and to divert at least 90% of our waste from the landfill — to become a zero waste company.

Read more in the Zero Waste section of our full 2019 Sustainability Report.

Track progress on our 2020 Sustainability Goals.

Measuring and Prioritizing Waste Management

We use EPA’s Waste Management Hierarchy to guide our work. Our aim is to move our waste management up the hierarchy as much as possible: to adopt reduction, reuse and recycling before sending waste to the landfill.

Tracking, synthesizing and analyzing our waste management data is critical to making progress on our zero waste goals. Kroger joined the nationally-recognized EPA WasteWise Program several years ago and we use their reporting tool to measure and track our progress consistently over time.


Measuring and Prioritizing Waste Management

Our Stores

Our stores donate millions of pounds of unsalable food to those in need, reducing food that goes to waste. Our waste management programs capture materials like cardboard, plastics, paper and glass—as well as inedible food and organics—for recycling. We also offer an in-store plastic film recycling program for our customers.

Cardboard recycling
Cardboard recycling

We recycle more cardboard than any other material in our business. In 2018, we captured more than 1.48 billion pounds of corrugated cardboard for recovery.

Food waste recycling
Food waste recycling

Currently, 2,039 stores across the Kroger family of stores have food recycling programs in place. In the last year, we increased the amount of food waste that we recycled by 26%.

Plastic recycling
Plastic recycling

In 2018, Kroger recycled nearly 52.2 million pounds of plastic in our operations, including the plastic film we recycle from our front-of-store collection program.

Our Manufacturing Plants

A decade ago, Kroger Manufacturing launched an initiative to go ‘zero waste to landfill’ — to protect our planet, reduce costs and help generate revenue.

Converting food byproducts to energy
Converting food byproducts to energy

Kroger’s K.B. Specialty Foods plant in Greensburg, Ind., uses an anaerobic wastewater treatment facility to captures biogas from food byproducts and convert it to renewable energy for the plant. The plant was recognized by Water & Wastes Digest.

Zero waste manufacturing
Zero waste manufacturing

Our manufacturing plants continue to achieve ‘zero waste’: In 2018, 34 of our plants directed more than 90% of waste from landfills.

Read more

Collaborative partnerships
Collaborative partnerships

Kroger’s Heritage Farm Dairy in Murfreesboro, Tenn., diverts an average of 10,000 gallons of whey per day from the Greek yogurt production process to our supplier General Mill’s nearby plant for processing in an anaerobic digester.

Our Warehouses

Kroger’s Supply Chain team recycles a variety of materials across our 44 facilities, such as cardboard, wood, metal, plastic, and paper. We use pooled shipping assets, like reusable plastic containers and reusable plastic pallets, in our shipping network to decrease waste impacts. We also rescue food for donation to area food banks.

Circular economy
160

Million RPCs

Circular economy

In 2018, we used more than 160 million reusable plastic containers to ship produce in our distribution network, reducing waste and moving us toward more circular models.

Leading in zero waste
Leading in zero waste

Our Fred Meyer division was one of our first to adopt zero waste practices in our distribution centers and stores.

Read more

Anaerobic digester
Anaerobic digester

Our Ralph’s / Food 4 Less campus in Compton, Calif., features an anaerobic digester that converts organic waste to renewable biogas.

Our Customers

We want to bring our customers and communities along on our zero waste journey. Through in-store services and community engagement programs, we are helping our customers adopt more sustainable lifestyles.

Plastic Bags at QFC
Phasing out single-use plastic bags

Last year, Kroger made the bold commitment to phase out single-use plastic bags by 2025. Our QFC division was the first to make the transition.

In-store customer recycling
In-store customer recycling

A variety of materials are accepted in our in-store plastic film recycling program, including single-use plastic bags.

Read the full list of accepted items

Turnip Green Creative Reuse
Community support

Kroger is proud to support organizations whose missions align with ours. Turnip Green Creative Reuse is dedicated to fostering creativity and sustainability through reuse.