Absurdly Driven looks at the world of business with a skeptical eye and a firmly rooted tongue in cheek. 

Paper or plastic? is less a question and more of a way of life.

How you answer it says something about you. 

You know you're supposed to say paper, but there's something a little more flexible and durable about plastic bags.

Now along comes Kroger to answer the question for you.

The supermarket chain that's fighting hard to be in this century has declared that it will phase out all plastic bags by 2025.

Kroger begins the process today at some of its 63 QFC stores in the Seattle area.

How will Seattleites cope? 

To soften the shock, Kroger is offering reusable bags. Not, though, at the 10-cent price many are used to.

These things will cost between $1 and $2. Yes, each.

Your classic brown paper bags will still be free.

This, at least for QFC, will be a quick transition. Kroger says it expects QFC to be plastic-free by next year.

The chain's justification for this move, it says, is the fact that a mere 5 percent of plastic bags are recycled every year. 

Given that there may be 100 billion of them tossed in the trash -- or elsewhere -- every year, the situation is serious.

Most retailers have been afraid of removing plastic bags. They're terrified that customers will actually complain. 

The only supermarket that's tried to do something about it is Whole Foods. And that was in 2008.

Increasingly, corporations are realizing that many customers judge their brands not merely on what they sell and how they present it, but on how the company behaves.

Climate change and environmental responsibility has become very big issues for those who are watching their Earth fall apart.

It's simply good business to acknowledge that, never mind good humanity.

Every step is, in essence, a small one. But supermarkets work on small margins. 

Everything they can do to differentiate themselves just a little can make a vast difference.

I wonder how many of Kroger's rivals will now suddenly see the light. 

Published on: Aug 23, 2018
The opinions expressed here by Inc.com columnists are their own, not those of Inc.com.