November 18, 2004 | General

Six New England Supermarket Chains Get Awards For Composting Food Residuals

BioCycle November 2004, Vol. 45, No. 11, p. 30

FORTY-FIVE participating Massachusetts supermarkets are currently diverting 6,600 tons of organics along with 21,000 tons of cardboard and other recyclables each year, reports the state’s Department of Environmental Protection. “This translates to an annual disposal cost savings of approximately $7,000 per store,” notes DEP staff, adding: “These savings are particularly impressive when put in the context of the razor-thin profit margins in the supermarket industry. To generate $10,000 to $20,000 of profit, a supermarket would need to sell $1 million to $2 million of product. Some supermarkets have saved as much as $20,000 annually.”
In early October, state and federal environmental officials honored six supermarket chains for their leadership in composting food residuals and for aggressively recycling a wide range of materials. Receiving Massachusetts WasteWise Supermarket Recycling Leadership Awards were Big Y Foods, Hannaford Bros., Roche Bros., Shaw’s Supermarkets and Whole Foods. Presentations were made at a meeting of the Massachusetts Food Association, an industry trade group.
“The Environmental Protection Agency is pleased to support Massachusetts and the supermarket industry in finding ways to reduce the disposal of food waste and other recyclable materials that would otherwise clog our landfills or require incineration,” said Ira Leighton, deputy regional administrator of EPA’s New England office. “Through the actions of these supermarkets, as well as others, we will be able to meet our national goal of a 35 percent recycling rate by 2008.”
Added Chris Flynn, president of the state’s Food Association: “While these may be impressive figures, they are only the beginning. The industry could realize more than $4 million in savings per year if all 400 supermarkets in Massachusetts recycled their organics.” For more information on these projects, contact Julia Wolfe, Commercial Waste Reduction Coordinator for the state DEP in Boston. E-mail:

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