Planet: Safeway's 1 Billion Bag Challenge

Jul 23, 2014 10:00 AM ET

Reusable bags are an easy way you can make a lasting impact on the environment. By the end of 2015, our goal is to reduce the number of plastic and paper bags used by 1 billion. And we’re well on our way toward that goal today. You can help by switching to reusable bags when you shop.

Shoppers and retailers around the United States are growing more and more concerned about the negative impact of single-use bags — including Safeway. Did you know that consumers use more than 100 billion plastic shopping bags every year?

Safeway wants to help lower this number. But we don’t just want to eliminate plastic bags — paper bags are part of the problem, too. Both materials present their own environmental challenges. A plastic bag can take anywhere from 15 to 1,000 years to decompose, but paper bags produce more than double the air pollution of plastic bags in landfills. On top of that, approximately 14 million trees are cut down every year for U.S. paper bag production.

We need to move away from this recycling mindset and focus instead on reusing. That’s why Safeway is actively encouraging our shoppers to switch to reusable bags. With your help, we can reach our goal of reducing the number of plastic and paper bags used by 1 billion by the end of 2015.

“I am passionate about achieving our goal because it is one way we can reduce our company’s environmental footprint,” says Peter Kavanagh, corporate director of retail support. “It’s a challenge, but we’re working on several initiatives that are enabling us stay on track toward a 1 billion bag reduction.”

If one person switched to reusable bags, it would save more than 22,000 single-use bags over a lifetime. Just imagine the impact our community could make if we work together to achieve our 2015 goal. Read more about our 1 billion bag goal and other Planet initiatives and on our website.  Then join the Facebook and Twitter conversation by using the #HeartOfSafeway hashtag.