Hy-Vee Joins Other Retailers to Fight Plastic Waste

New consortium hopes to find solutions to the ubiquitous plastic bag.

October 13, 2020

WEST DES MOINES, Iowa—Hy-Vee, the Midwestern grocery chain with 275 stores, has joined the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag to help fight plastic waste, reports Supermarket News.

The consortium was created over the summer to test options to replace the single-use plastic bag. CVS Health, Target and Walmart are the consortium’s founding partners, while Kroger is the group’s grocery sector lead partner. Walgreens participates as a supporting partner, and investment firm Closed Loop Partners serves as managing partner. The participating retailers have pledged more than $15 million toward the Beyond the Bag Initiative, a three-year effort that calls on retailers to address the global waste issue of the plastic shopping bags.

More than 100 billion single-use plastic retail bags are used annually in the United States, and less than 10% are recycled, according to the consortium. The average time that a single-use plastic bag is used is only 12 minutes, but it takes about 1,000 years for it to break down. Plastic retail bags are among the top 10 items found on beaches and in waterways worldwide.

In August, the Consortium to Reinvent the Retail Bag launched a global innovation challenge to source solutions—including technology-enabled reuse models, new materials, and software and hardware innovations—to replace the today’s plastic bag. The challenge, which closed last week, drew more than 450 submissions. 

Consortium partners, including retailers, environmental advisory partners and third-party experts, will review and select the winners. All submissions are judged according to sustainability, accessibility, customer behavior and alignment with reuse and recovery infrastructure. Winning concepts are eligible to receive a portion of $1 million in funding, participate in a circular accelerator to receive further assistance in scaling, and access testing and potential pilot opportunities. 

“The opportunity to join the Beyond the Bag Initiative and address the shared challenges presented by single-use plastics with some of the largest and most influential retailers in our country is crucial as we remain committed to reducing our environmental impact,” said Jay Marshall, vice chairman and president of Hy-Vee’s supply chain and subsidiaries. “Through this collaboration, we can truly move the needle on a global waste issue and bring to life some much-needed solutions.”

Convenience retailers around the world continue to embrace sustainability solutions as an effective way of meeting their core business objectives. Explore the ideas and resources highlighted for retailers by retailers in the NACS Sustainability Playbook.

Don’t miss the education session “Profiting from Sustainability” during the upcoming NACS Crack the Code Experience—one of the more than 50 education sessions that await attendees. Come to this session to hear stories from fellow retailers on how they capitalize on sustainability. The live session debuts November 23 at 11:30 a.m., with an encore November 25 at 11:30 a.m.  

The NACS Crack the Code Experience is a five-week digital experience and curated marketplace connecting convenience retail buyers and sellers from around the globe. Running November 2 through December 4, 2020, it will feature 24/7 access to forward-looking ideas and insights, plus innovative new-to-channel products and strategic connections. There’s still time to register for your own Crack the Code Experience! Don’t delay—register today!

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