Zero Waste

Our sustainability commitment focuses on preventing waste and, as a last option, diverting waste from landfills for better uses. We recognize that creating waste represents a lost opportunity. By focusing on prevention and improving waste management in our retail stores, manufacturing plants, distribution centers and construction projects, we gain both greater business value and environmental benefits.

Our goal is
to achieve zero waste by


We are
committed to zero food waste by



waste diverted from landfill

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.

We use EPA’s Waste Management Hierarchy to guide our work, as we try to use the more preferred waste management methods in the hierarchy.

Source Reduction & Reuse
  • Reducing waste at the source to avoid generating it in the first place.
  • Collecting items for reprocessing and manufacturing into new products.
  • Converting non-recyclable waste materials into useable heat, electricity or fuel.
Treatment & Disposal
  • As a last resort, waste is treated if needed and disposed.

Several years ago, Kroger joined the EPA’s WasteWise Program. This nationally recognized program provides a tool to benchmark, measure, track and communicate our efforts in a more consistent and cohesive way.

Our Stores

Kroger's stores have focused on achieving zero waste for several years, using a variety of reduction and recycling initiatives. Our stores donate millions of pounds of unsalable food to those in need. Then we use our waste management programs to capture materials like cardboard, plastics, paper and glass—as well as inedible food and organics—for recycling. We also offer an in-store plastics recycling program for our customers.

Food donation: Through our Zero Hunger │ Zero Waste Food Rescue program, we donate fresh food from our stores to local food banks and pantries. In 2017, we donated 74 million pounds of wholesome food from our stores to those in need through this critical program.

Learn more about our Food Rescue program.
million pounds

Customer recycling: Our in-store plastics recycling program accepts clean and dry plastic shopping bags, bread and produce bags, bottled water case wraps and bathroom tissue and diaper plastic over wraps.


We collected more than 37.9 million pounds of plastic through this program in 2017.


Food waste recycling: When expiring food can't be safely donated to feed people, we strive to recycle it as animal feed, to compost it or to process it using anaerobic digestion.

By the end of 2017, nearly 1,980 stores across the Kroger family of stores had food recycling programs.

Learn more about how we manage food waste.
Our Plants

Nearly a decade ago, Kroger Manufacturing started to focus on reducing and diverting waste because it had potential to reduce costs and generate recycling revenues. Just as importantly, it became "the right thing to do" as a company that cares about our impact on the environment.

Our associates: Our Manufacturing Sustainability and Energy Champions help drive our zero waste initiatives in our plants. They are supported by a culture of engagement, continuous improvement and sharing of best practices across plants.

Read more about our zero waste efforts.

34 of 36
zero waste
to landfill

Zero waste manufacturing: Kroger's manufacturing facilities have continued to rapidly adopt zero waste practices so that 34 of our plants are now directing more than 90% of waste from landfill.

Waste diversion: Our plants use many means to keep waste out of landfills, including reuse, food donation, donation to animal feed operations, materials recycling, land application and energy recovery.

Our Warehouses

Kroger’s Logistics team recycles a variety of materials across our 42 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: Kroger used 140 million reusable plastic containers to ship produce between our distribution centers and stores in 2017. These containers reduce waste by preserving produce freshness and reducing the use of cardboard boxes.

Waste reduction and recovery: Our Logistics associates keep plastics and cardboard out of landfills, rescue food for donations and direct general merchandise to organizations that can use it.

Watch our video about the Compton digester

Anaerobic digester: Our Ralphs / Food 4 Less campus in Compton, Calif., features an anaerobic digester that processes food and organic waste that is backhauled from more than 300 stores and converts it to renewable biogas.