Kroger is doing away with single-use plastic bags, replacing them with reusable bags across all stores. “As part of our Zero Hunger | Zero Waste commitment, we are phasing out use-once, throw-it-away plastic bags and transitioning to reusable bags in our stores by 2025." Some experts estimate that 100 billion single-use bags are thrown away every year in the United States. The QFC brand of stores will be the first to lose the bags, followed by all other lines in the family of stores.

5 things to know about Kroger’s new $55M facility in Monroe, the country’s first

Kroger just broke ground for a high-tech customer fulfillment center at 6266 Hamilton Lebanon Road in Monroe.

The 335,000-square-foot facility with digital and robotic capabilities, , will be a collaboration between the company, America’s largest grocery retailer, and U.K.-based Ocado, which is one of the world’s largest dedicated online grocery retailers.

Here some things to know about the new automated warehouse, which is also known as “the shed.”

MORE: What robots and 400 new jobs will do inside Kroger’s new $55M Monroe facility

1. It’s the first of its kind in the nation

The new automated warehouse facility will lead the way in the United States as the country’s first high-tech customer fulfillment center. Kroger said it plans to announce 20 similar facilities in the next three years to bring customers “fresher food faster than ever before” and accelerating its ability to provide “anything, anytime, anywhere.”

Two of those sites already have been selected, one in fast-growing Groveland, Florida, and the other in the Mid-Atlantic region.

2. It will speed up the process of online grocery shopping.

Ocado Solutions’ Ocado Smart Platform will allow Kroger to assemble an order of approximately 50 items in six minutes with robotics in the automated warehouse. In contrast, it takes approximately 30 to 45 minutes for a grocery store employee to pick up those same items from various areas of a brick-and-mortar Kroger location

3. It’s an economic boon to Butler County

Kroger is investing more than $55 million into the project, including purchasing nearly 100 acres along Ohio 63 in Monroe for $3.1 million. It is slated create more than 400 jobs when it opens in spring 2021.

MORE: Now hiring hundreds, Monroe’s Amazon facility closer to operation nearly a year after construction

4. It is one of several projects creating jobs in Monroe

Monroe is enjoying a surge in business growth with multiple companies investing, hiring, and expanding. The list includes Amazon, which is slated to hire more than 750 employees to open its new facility in the portion of Monroe that is located in Warren County.

Also creating new jobs in the city will be Crane Consumables, UGN, Deceuninck North America and Lahlouh, Home Depot’s Rapid Deployment Center, Hayneedle, Kohl’s and others.

5. It received economic incentives to become a reality

The partnership between Kroger and Ocado was announced in May 2018 and the companies in November announced America’s first automated warehouse would be located in Monroe. To help make that a reality, the Ohio Tax Credit Authority voted last December to approve an 8-year, 1.362 percent tax credit for the project.

The project also received the support of Ohio Gov. Mike DeWine, REDI Cincinnati and Monroe City Council.

MORE: What’s next? Big week for Butler County jobs sets up more moves

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