NGVC Diverts 500 Million Single-Use Bags From Landfills

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage hit an impressive sustainability milestone this year by announcing they diverted 500 million single-use plastic bags from negatively impacting the environment.  

Beginning in 2009, Natural Grocers started a ‘Bring Your Own Bag’ program not only to divert waste from landfills and potentially the oceans, they wanted the program to benefit the local community as well. The retailer donates 5 cents to local food banks every time customers bring their own bags.  

Raquel Isley, VP of Marketing said, “Natural Grocers is proud to achieve this milestone with the help of our conscientious customers. Eliminating the use of plastic bags at checkout was a system-level decision that was enthusiastically embraced by our company, customers and good4u Crew, knowing it was an important way to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bag waste,” said Raquel Isely, VP of Marketing. “This practice has also enabled us to donate over $1.5 million to our local food banks, which perfectly aligns with one of our Five Founding Principles, ‘A Commitment to Community.’” 

Additional reductions of packaging and waste at Natural Grocers include — Produce Bags: In 2020 Natural Grocers switched to plant-based, backyard-compostable produce bags and 100% recycled, recyclable, and compostable paper bags. Plastic: Reduced plastic stretch wrap in bulk packaging facility and distribution center by approximately 50% from prior year, while the volume of product handled increased. Product Selection: To eliminate unnecessary food waste, Natural Grocers does not typically offer self-service bulk bins, deli counters, meat/seafood counters or salad bars at their stores. These environmentally sustainable efforts are what have earned Natural Grocers a spot on “The PG 100,” Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. And they were named by Progressive Grocer as one of the 10 Most Sustainable Grocers.