Sprouts Farmers Market ditching plastic bags

The grocer says it will phase out the use of plastic bags at its stores by the end of this year.
The exterior of a Sprouts Farmers Market store.
  • Sprouts Farmers Market will phase out single-use plastic bags by the end of the year, and will introduce multi-use plastic bags that can be used at least 125 times.
  • Already eliminated in California, the grocery chain is expanding the initiative across stores in Nevada, Utah, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia.
  • The grocer has already eliminated paper bags from its stores.

Sprouts Farmers Market, which offers natural, organic and gluten-free products, has a new sustainability effort — eliminating the use of plastic bags at all its grocery stores. 

The grocer in a March 28 release said it would eliminate the use of single-use plastic bags by the end this year. It said the decision would result in the annual elimination of 200 million single-use plastic bags. 

Sprouts Farmers Market has already eliminated the bags at 132 of its stores in California, according to the release. Starting in April, the grocer will eliminate bags in phases at its stores in Nevada, Utah, Maryland, Pennsylvania and Virginia. The grocer will still allow customers to bring in single-use bags for recycling, according to the release. 

In place of the plastic bags, Sprouts says customers instead will be offered reusable plastic bags, which are made from 40% post-consumer recycled material. Sprouts notes it already ended the use of paper bags, which it said are generally not reusable, rarely recycled and have a “high environmental cost.” 

While still made of plastic, Sprouts says the reusable bags are designed to be used at least 125 times. The grocer will continue to offer other reusable bags for sale, and it’ll encourage shoppers to bring their own bags by charging 10 cents for every multi-use plastic bag used. 

“We like to remind customers that any bag takes energy and resources to produce, which means the most sustainable choice is the bag you already have,” said Nick Konat, president and chief operating officer of Sprouts, in the release. “Making the effort to reuse any bag that comes into your possession, and disposing of the bag responsibly, is key.” 

As Retail Leader Pro recently reported, shoppers want more transparency from grocers on sustainability. Just 23% of shoppers say their preferred grocer does a good job doing so, according to Grocery Doppio. According to the survey, 37% of shoppers said they would pay a premium for sustainable products even amid ongoing economic hardships impacting U.S. consumers.

Other recent sustainability moves in the category include an AI-powered smart salad bar at nearly two dozen Schnucks supermarkets and Meijer’s decision to accept SNAP EBT benefits for soon-to-expire foods, Retail Leader reported.