Trader Joe’s to minimize plastic bags

Grocery chain makes moves to decrease reliance on single-use plastics.

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March 5, 2019

Monrovia, California-based grocery chain Trader Joe’s is taking several measures to decrease its reliance on single-use plastics, according to an announcement on its website.

“While most of the plastic in our packaging has the highest recyclability acceptance rate in the United States, reducing the amount of plastic packaging in our stores is another important focus of our sustainability,” states the nationwide grocer.

In 2019, the company says it has taken or will phase in steps to accomplish that goal. The company lists as applicable measures:

  • no longer offering single-use plastic carryout bags;
  • replacing plastic produce bags with biodegradable and compostable produce bags for loose fruits and vegetables;
  • replacing remaining polystyrene packaging in the produce section with bio-based, compostable trays;
  • reducing the number of items sold in plastic packages in the produce section, including apple, pear and potato bags;
  • replacing any remaining polystyrene trays in the fresh meat section with PET (polyethylene terephthalate) trays deemed “highly recyclable”; and
  • eliminating plastic and foil pouches from tea packages deemed as non-recyclable. 

“As we fulfill these steps in 2019, we are eliminating more than 1 million pounds of plastic from our stores, and we expect that number to grow as we continue to identify sustainable opportunities and take action,” states the retailer.

“Trader Joe’s decision to phase out some of its most problematic and unnecessary plastic packaging is a direct response to customers pushing them to act,” says Kate Melges, a plastics campaigner with Washington-based Greenpeace. “It’s going to take supermarkets and consumer goods companies fundamentally rethinking how products are brought to people to make a significant impact on our oceans, waterways and communities,” she adds.