Zero Waste

Kroger’s vision is a world with zero waste. To get there, we are reducing operational waste and food waste in our business. We work with our leaders and associates to reduce waste every day, and we work with other organizations to help track, report and reduce food waste across our retail stores.

In 2018, we focused on waste reduction in our stores, with a special focus on measuring and reducing food waste. We have three main focus areas:

  • Reduce waste: Identify opportunities to reduce overall waste in our operations to achieve our goals. Support and promote a more circular economy.
  • Measure and report food waste: Measure food waste, track progress toward goals and celebrate achievements.
  • Drive innovation: Find new ideas and solutions to help reduce waste and food waste.

Reduce Waste

Through Zero Hunger | Zero Waste, we are accelerating already-strong waste reduction programs across the company. We reduce waste in our operations to improve efficiency, which has both economic and environmental benefits. Kroger set a zero-waste goal several years ago, and we continue to make progress on our journey. Our Manufacturing and Supply Chain operations are already zero waste—diverting 90%+ waste from landfills.

In 2018, Kroger achieved a waste diversion rate of 76% company-wide, a 4% increase versus the prior year. That means we kept 2 million tons of waste out of landfills last year.

Associates across the company recovered and recycled nearly 1.5 billion pounds of corrugated cardboard and over 52 million pounds of plastics last year. Using reusable plastic containers (RPCs) to ship fresh produce to our stores—160 million pounds shipped in RPCs in 2018—also reduces waste and food waste.

How we’re doing on our mission to eliminate waste across our company:

Zero Waste Goal Target Year Progress
Establish Kroger’s Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Fund 2018 Launched the Innovation Fund to support creative ideas to end food waste. Led first open call and selected our first group of grantees.
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Achieve prior goal to be a zero waste company by 2020; achieve zero food waste by 2025 2020
2025

Achieved 76% waste diversion from landfill company-wide, up 4% from restated 2017 results. Increased total recycling, plastics recovery and food waste recycling.
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Reduced Kroger’s overall food waste footprint by 9% and increased food waste diversion from landfill by 13% vs. the 2017 baseline.
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Began introducing Our Brands products with standardized date labels to help customers reduce waste at home.

Measure & report food waste

We also achieved significant progress toward our goal of zero food waste. In 2018, we repeated our food waste analysis—using the World Resources Institute Food Loss and Waste Protocol. Thanks to our dedicated associates, we reduced our overall food waste generated, increased food waste diversion from landfill, and increased food waste recycling.

See the full results in the Food Waste section of this report. Please see the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste section of the full report for additional details.

Kroger + Loop
Kroger + Loop

Kroger is the exclusive U.S. grocery retail partner for TerraCycle’s new Loop durable packaging system.

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Kroger committed to phase out single-use plastic bags by 2025
No more bags

Kroger committed to phase out single-use plastic grocery shopping bags by 2025, starting at QFC, based in Seattle

We offer customers tips for reducing food waste at home
Zero-waste cooking

We help our customers learn how to prevent and reduce food waste in their kitchens. Visit www.KrogerStories.com for details.

Drive innovation

We know it will take transformational ideas to eliminate waste. We don’t have all the answers, so we’re inviting experts, partners and others to help find solutions that work. Our commitment includes test-and-learn projects, where we’ll find new ideas, launch pilots and look for scalable results.

In 2018, we also aligned our charitable giving to our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste social impact plan. Examples include The Kroger Co. Foundation’s support of the Congressional Hunger Center Emerson Fellows Program and a grant to fund the expansion of World Wildlife Fund’s Food Waste Warriors curriculum to 10 cities.

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We also created a new foundation: The Kroger Co. Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Foundation. This nonprofit is a public charity designed to enable greater collaboration and collective action to end hunger and waste. A signature program of this new Foundation is our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste Innovation Fund, introduced earlier this year.

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For more details about reducing food waste, please see the Zero Hunger | Zero Waste and Food Waste sections of the full report.