Natural Grocers® Celebrates Sustainability Milestone

by Katie Lee

Lakewood, Colo. — Natural Grocers®, the nation’s largest family-operated natural and organic retailer, has marked an important sustainability milestone: preventing 500 million single-use plastic bags from impacting the environment since 2009 with its disposable bag-free checkouts and additional practices to reduce packaging and waste.

Founded in 1955, Natural Grocers is known for its commitment to the health and wellbeing of humans, animals and the planet. As part of this ongoing commitment, the company adopted single-use bag-free checkouts at the register in 2009, with its ‘Bring Your Own Bag’ program.

The company encourages customers to bring their own bags, actively promotes reusable bags and offers upcycled cardboard boxes from shipments. Each time a customer brings their own bag, Natural Grocers donates 5¢ to local established food bank partners.

“Natural Grocers is proud to achieve this milestone, with the help of our conscientious customers,” says Raquel Isely, vice president of marketing for Natural Grocers. “Eliminating the use of plastic bags at checkout was a system-level decision that was enthusiastically embraced by our company, customers and good4uSM Crew, knowing it was an important way to reduce the environmental impact of plastic bag waste. This practice has also enabled us to donate over $1.5 million to our local food banks. From the smallest to the largest, we believe sustainable practices contribute to the positive changes we are committed to seeing in the world. Natural Grocers continues to drive these practices within the industry, while educating our customers to support a more regenerative future for the planet.”

Additional reductions to packaging and waste 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.
  • Natural Grocers Brand Products: The company sources packaging that is recyclable, biodegradable and/or compostable and apply minimum sufficient packaging practices.

To view Natural Grocers’ Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) report for the fiscal year 2022, click here.

Founded in 1955, Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc. is an expanding specialty retailer of natural and organic groceries, body care products and dietary supplements. Natural Grocers’ flexible smaller-store format allows it to offer affordable prices in a shopper-friendly, clean and convenient retail environment. The company has 166 stores in 21 states. For more information, visit and





SOURCE: Natural Grocers by Vitamin Cottage, Inc.

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