Kroger's Southwest division forges ahead with three-step sustainability plan

HOUSTON — Kroger's Southwest division, which consists of 208 stores in Texas and Louisiana, announced that it is continuing to reduce waste and conserve energy by moving forward with sustainable practices by renewing its three-step approach.

Kroger Southwest said its multipronged strategy — which includes goals to educate, maintain and invest — continues to be implemented. The retailer division said it educates associates through its Save 5 program. Developed by the retailer's facility engineering team, associates are taught about the importance of closing doors, turning lights off, shutting down equipment after use, maintaining specified temperatures in refrigeration cases and not overstocking products.

For the maintenance prong, Kroger last year sold 5 million reusable bags to reduce plastic bag use by 159 million as part of its Bag-2-Bag program, which was introduced in 2008. Since its inception, more than 6.1 million lbs. of plastic have been collected and collectively recycled in the greater Houston, east Texas, Dallas-Fort Worth and Louisiana markets.

What's more, the retailer division announced that it is investing in a new eco-friendly initiative called "Lighting Reinvention," which significantly will cut down the amount of kilowatts used in stores over a five-year period.

The announcement came at the heels of the 41st anniversary of Earth Day on April 22.

"We're always looking for ways to reduce waste, conserve energy and better our transportation systems," Kroger Southwest division president Bill Breetz said. "By continually educating our associates, introducing new approaches and investing in programs, we've been able to significantly reduce our carbon footprint as a company and contribute to global sustainability efforts."