Kroger Increases Sustainability Goals by Using Less Plastic for Jugs

by | Mar 3, 2017

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The grocery chain Kroger is making 6.2 million gallons of lightweight jugs using less plastic, according to the Augusta Free Press.

The story says that the jugs weigh 56 grams now whereas before they had weighed 62 grams. That amounts to 81,500 pounds of plastic that won’t go into landfills or need to be recycled.

Kroger’s Westover Dairy in Lynchburg, Virginia, which has been doing so since September, is using the jugs for milk, water and juice, the story says. It will distribute them to Kroger’s stores in Virginia, West Virginia, Tennessee and the Carolinas.

“The new milk jugs are a significant contribution to Kroger achieving its goal of reducing packaging for products and reducing waste,” said Eric Smarko, manager of the Westover Dairy plant, in a release.

“The milk jug still is made of the same 100% recyclable high density polyethylene as the old jugs, but the unique design allows us to use about 10% less plastic while retaining the same performance that we did from the old jugs.

“Utilization of the jug is expected to save more than five million pounds of plastic per year when fully implemented across the country, resulting in less mass being dumped into landfills,” Smarko concludes.

The jug was designed by MidAmerican Machining along with Kroger’s engineers. Among the benefits: better gripping because it has a thumb pad. Kroger says that over time, the price of these products could be cheaper given that there is less plastic involved.

Generally speaking, Kroger is on a path toward “zero waste,” meaning that it has a goal of diverting waste that is getting sent off to landfills. It also wants to reduce its packaging — like in the milk jug case here — while using recyclable plastic bags and donating perishable foods to food banks. Those have been cost effective processes, says an Augusta Free Press story.

“Our packaging engineers continue to develop new ways to reduce packaging for Kroger’s branded products,” said Smarko, in the release.

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