Quantcast
Environmental News for a Healthier Planet and Life

Help Support EcoWatch

Giant Eagle Becomes First U.S. Retailer of Its Size to Set Single-Use Plastic Phaseout

Business
Giant Eagle Becomes First U.S. Retailer of Its Size to Set Single-Use Plastic Phaseout
A Giant Eagle store in New Castle, Pennsylvania on May 13, 2017. Murat Tanyel / Flickr

Pittsburgh-based grocery store chain Giant Eagle announced Tuesday that it will eliminate single-use plastics by 2025.

It is the first retailer of its size in the U.S. to make such a commitment, Greenpeace USA senior communications specialist Perry Wheeler told EcoWatch in an email.


"When my great-grandfather and the four other founders started Giant Eagle nearly 90 years ago, they wanted to improve life for people in their communities," Giant Eagle CEO and President Laura Shapira Karet said in the announcement. "Protecting our planet for future generations is a critical way we uphold this commitment today."

The retailer said it will target plastic bags, straws, bottles and serving containers. It will also stop using plastic to wrap all of its products, such as bread loaves and hot dogs, WESA reported.

The commitment will begin with a six-month pilot program to eliminate plastic bags at stores in Pittsburgh and Ohio's Bexley and Cuyahoga County, the company said. The Pittsburgh pilot program will begin Jan. 15 of 2020 at the Waterworks Market District as a collaboration with Allegheny County, the City of Pittsburgh and Sustainable Pittsburgh.

The retailer will remove all single-use plastic bags from the register, and instead customers will be able to choose between a reusable bag for 99 cents or a paper bag for a 10-cent fee. Customers using food stamps will be exempt from the paper-bag fee, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported.

The reusable bags will be available at all of Giant Eagle's 474 stores, and, for a limited time, the retailer will offer customers a perk for every reusable bag they use starting Tuesday, the chain said.

"This is an important step to say there's a better way of moving forward," Joylette Portlock, executive director of Sustainable Pittsburgh, told The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. "People care about this, just like they care about climate change."

Giant Eagle will address the issue of climate change too. The single-use plastics commitment is the first specific goal the retailer is announcing as part of a larger "strategic sustainability platform," the company said. It also plans to target waste, carbon emissions, sustainable products and "team member engagement."

Giant Eagle operates stores in Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, West Virginia, and Maryland, but Greenpeace USA plastics campaigner David Pinsky expressed hope that its commitment would inspire larger companies:

"As other U.S. retailers continue to ignore the plastic pollution crisis, Giant Eagle has shown it understands the urgent need to eliminate single-use plastics from its operations. Giant Eagle has sent a clear message to other retailers that the time for action has come. To truly make a difference for our oceans, waterways, and communities, additional retailers like Target, Walmart, and Albertsons Companies must work alongside consumer goods behemoths like Coca-Cola, PepsiCo, and Nestlé to eliminate single-use plastics once and for all.

"While additional details are needed, Giant Eagle's plan to rid its operations of all single-use plastics by 2025 could be game-changing. We hope that the company sticks to this ambitious commitment, and works to speed up the elimination of throwaway plastic bags, which cannot be recycled in curbside programs. Any commitment to eliminate single-use plastics must not rely on false solutions like simply replacing one type of throwaway packaging material with another. Giant Eagle must continue to show leadership by implementing systems of reuse and package-free options in its operations.

And Judith Enck, a former U.S. Environmental Protection Agency administrator who went on to found Beyond Plastics, told WESA that no more than 10 percent of the plastic Americans put in recycling bins actually gets recycled.

"So the best things we can do as consumers, if we care about public health and the environment, is buy less plastic whenever you have that option," Enck said.

A meteorologist monitors weather in NOAA's Center for Weather and Climate Prediction on July 2, 2013 in Riverdale, Maryland. Mark Wilson / Getty Images

The Trump White House is now set to appoint two climate deniers to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) in one month.

Read More Show Less

EcoWatch Daily Newsletter

A plastic bag caught in a tree in New Jersey's Palisades Park. James Leynse / Stone / Getty Images

New Jersey is one step closer to passing what environmental advocates say is the strongest anti-plastic legislation in the nation.

Read More Show Less

Trending

Did you know that nearly 30% of adults do, or will, suffer from a sleep condition at some point in their life? Anyone who has experienced disruptions in their sleep is familiar with the havoc that it can wreak on your body and mind. Lack of sleep, for one, can lead to anxiety and lethargy in the short-term. In the long-term, sleep deprivation can lead to obesity, diabetes, and cardiovascular disease.

Fortunately, there are proven natural supplements that can reduce insomnia and improve quality sleep for the better. CBD oil, in particular, has been scientifically proven to promote relaxing and fulfilling sleep. Best of all, CBD is non-addictive, widely available, and affordable for just about everyone to enjoy. For these very reasons, we have put together a comprehensive guide on the best CBD oil for sleep. Our goal is to provide objective, transparent information about CBD products so you are an informed buyer.

Read More Show Less
Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-CA) talks to reporters during her weekly news conference at the U.S. Capitol Visitors Center on Sept. 18, 2020 in Washington, DC. Chip Somodevilla / Getty Images

The House of Representatives passed a sweeping bill to boost clean energy while phasing out the use of coolants in air conditioners and refrigerators that are known pollutants and contribute to the climate crisis, as the AP reported.

Read More Show Less
Gov. Jay Inslee of Washington comforts Marsha Maus, 75, whose home was destroyed during California's deadly 2018 wildfires, on March 11, 2019 in Agoura Hills, California. Mel Melcon / Los Angeles Times / Getty Images

By Governor Jay Inslee

Climate Week this year coincides with clear skies in Washington state for the first time in almost two weeks.

In just a few days in early September, Washington state saw enough acres burned – more than 600,000 – to reach our second-worst fire season on record. Our worst fire season came only five years ago. Wildfires aren't new to the west, but their scope and danger today is unlike anything firefighters have seen. People up and down the West Coast – young and old, in rural areas and in cities – were choking on smoke for days on end, trapped in their homes.

Fires like these are becoming the norm, not the exception.

Read More Show Less

Support Ecowatch