Cleona Pennsylvania’s branch of Giant Food Stores LLC has achieved a zero-waste status, the first supermarket to reach this in the Ahold Delhaize USA chain. This status, as defined by the US Environmental Protection Agency, means over 90 percent of the store’s waste is diverted from incineration or landfills.

The supermarket’s team have enforced recycling procedures and carefully monitored what got sent to trash compactors, ensuring nothing that could be potentially recycled gets thrown away. Food waste and scrapes were put in designated bins for organic recycling and plastics, including bags, films and bottles were sent to Giant Food Store’s recycling centre. The zero-waste project at the supermarket began in 2012.

“It’s been a total store effort as we set up each department, so it’s easy to do the right thing when it comes to lessening our environmental impact. We have associates across the store who have embraced our recycling efforts and collectively have changed the store’s culture to achieve this goal,” said Judy Knarr, assistant store manager at the Cleona store.

Around 77 percent of total waste generated by the Giant Food Store’s chains are diverted through composting and recycling. The supermarkets donate meat, meals and bakery goods that would go unused otherwise, to those in need at regional food banks.

“Doing our part in caring for the environment for future generations is a major initiative for us company-wide. To reach zero waste is a significant achievement that required the complete dedication of all Cleona store associates. Not only is Cleona the first Giant to reach zero waste, it’s also the first store among our Ahold Delhaize USA sister companies to achieve this milestone,” said Manuel Haro, Giant’s VP of strategy.