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Fred Meyer, JCPenney Add Reusable Bags, Divert Plastic Bags from Landfills

krogerreusablebagFred Meyer Stores, one of the largest grocery and retail outlets in the Northwest, announced that it has diverted 20 tons of plastic bags from landfills two years after the launch of its reusable grocery bag program.

Customers of the Portland-Ore.-based company, part of the Kroeger Company stores, used reusable bags at the check stand 12 million more times in 2008 than they did in 2007. In addition, Fred Meyer Stores ordered 14 million fewer plastic bags  and purchased 2.2 million fewer paper bags in 2008 than it did in 2007.

The U.S. alone consumes approximately 380 billion plastic bags annually, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. Fred Meyer Stores estimates that one Fred Meyer reusable grocery bag saves up to three standard plastic bags.

The chain store also has implemented several programs to reduce waste, conserve energy and operate responsibly. These programs include the installation of more energy-efficient lighting and skylights as well as energy-efficient motors, cardboard and plastic recycling, as well as a compost and cardboard bailing program in seven stores.

Retailers such as JCPenney also are getting involved in the promotion of reusable shopping bags. The company recently unveiled three reusable shopping bags designed by top design school students, reported Fashion United. The bags will arrive in stores on April 8.

Other retailers working to reduce plastic and paper bag usage in favor of reusable bags include IKEA, Tesco and Macy’s.

Additionally, the Kroger Company, along with Afilias, CE Tech, and Rehrig Penn Logistics, recently joined The Reusable Packaging Association (RPA, formerly the Reusable Pallet and Container Coalition). RPA says the four new members represent the organization’s diverse membership and coverage of the supply chain.

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