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The impact of ditching plastic bags--Natural Grocers eliminates over 300 million single-use plastic bags and donates $1 Million to food banks

DENVER, March 28, 2019 /PRNewswire/ -- At the end of March, Natural Grocers estimates it will have eliminated more than 300 million single-use plastic bags and will reach $1 million in total donations to food banks associated with all 152 Natural Grocers stores.

Natural Grocers (PRNewsfoto/Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cott)

Since Earth Day 2009, Natural Grocers has led the fight to reduce single-use plastic bags and end food insecurity in the communities they serve, by eliminating single-use plastic bags from checkout lanes and by donating 5 cents to local food banks every time a customer shops with a reusable bag.

"We are drowning in a sea of plastic, which is causing harm to people and the planet. Additionally, there are people in our communities that are food insecure. 10 years ago, we saw an opportunity to make a difference and address both plastic waste and hunger simultaneously. So, we decided to eliminate single-use plastic bags at checkout and provide a 5 cent donation to our local food banks every time a customer remembered to bring in their reusable bags," said Heather Isely, Natural Grocers Executive Vice President.

In the 10 years since this initiative began, the company has impacted countless lives and will hit two impressive milestones – $1 million in monetary donations to the local food banks and the elimination of more than 300 million single-use plastic bags from the environment. The $1 million translates to Natural Grocers providing more than 4 million meals to those in need.

"The impact of eliminating single-use bags from our stores is enormous," said Natural Grocers Co-President Kemper Isely. "As a business, the ripple effect of our choices can redefine the future. 10 years ago, we chose to ditch single-use bags during checkout. We thank our customers for supporting this important initiative over the past decade and for making the decision to shop with reusable bags."

Double the impact!

During the month of April, the organic and natural retailer will double its donation to local food banks. Instead of donating 5 cents per shopping trip, Natural Grocers will donate 10 cents. Nearly 70 food banks in 19 states benefit from the donations accumulated when customer bring in their reusable shopping bags. Food Bank of the Rockies is the largest beneficiary and is affiliated with 25 stores in Denver.

In addition, during the month of April, Natural Grocers will also donate $1 for each purchase of the new Ladybug Love reusable shopping bag, retailing at $2.99.

"We hope our customers make a renewed effort to shop with reusable shopping bags during the month of April, and every day, because their local community food bank and the environment benefits every time they do," added Kemper Isely.

Natural Grocers provides free recycled boxes or reusable shopping bags for purchase, starting at 99 cents, to customers so they can carry their groceries and other natural goods home.

Green in grocery

Natural Grocers' green practices include:

  • Supporting sustainable and regenerative agricultural practices.
  • Reducing our carbon footprint by constantly searching for and implementing greener practices, including:
    • Innovative heating and cooling practices.
    • LED lighting.
    • Pull-down covers on our store refrigeration units.
    • Super-insulated buildings.
    • Repurposing existing buildings whenever possible.
    • Using sustainable, non-toxic construction materials.
  • Solar powered store signs and paper towel dispensers. 
  • BPA-free cash register tape.
  • Formaldehyde-free stores.
  • Eliminating and reducing indoor air pollutants by using sustainable non-toxic construction materials, including no and low-VOC (volatile organic chemical) paint.
  • Using and selling only non-toxic cleaning and sanitizing products.
  • Minimum-sufficient packaging on Natural Grocers brand products. 
  • Recycling shipping pallets and the plastic used to wrap them.
  • Upcycling most of the cardboard used to ship products to our stores by reusing it to box groceries and supplements.
  • Composting at select stores.
  • Community gardens at select stores.

Natural Grocers offers 100 percent organic produce, meats that are sustainably and humanely raised without antibiotics, hormones or other growth promotants, 100 percent free-range eggs, 100 percent pasture-based dairy, 100 percent non-GMO bulk products, groceries that don't contain any artificial colors, flavors, sweeteners or preservatives, the highest quality supplements, paraben-free body care products and all-natural cleaning products.

Natural Grocers is also committed to supporting regenerative farming practices that support the triple bottom line.

About Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage

Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. (NYSE: NGVC; is an expanding specialty retailer of organic and natural groceries, body care products and dietary supplements. The company offers a flexible, neighborhood-store format, affordable prices and free, science-based nutrition education programs to help customers make informed health and nutrition choices. Founded in Colorado in 1955, Natural Grocers has more than 3,500 employees and operates 152 stores in 19 states.


SOURCE Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc.

For further information: Amber Dutra, (303) 986-4600 x80150,