Big Y Recognized for Environmental Achievement

For Immediate Release

September 18, 2012 - Franklin, MA Secretary Rick Sullivan of the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs recognizes Big Y Foods for outstanding achievement in waste reduction, composting, recycling and energy efficiency. The ceremony taking place at the newest Big Y location in Franklin, MA marks the supermarket reaching significant recycling and composting benchmarks as well as innovative energy efficiency and renewable energy technologies.

"Massachusetts is a clean energy leader and we are proud to recognize businesses throughout the Commonwealth where exciting initiatives in energy efficiency and reduced environmental impact are taking shape," said Secretary Sullivan. "Big Y has an impressive history of making investments that protect our environment and help Massachusetts reach our ambitious renewable energy goals. I congratulate and thank them for their efforts."

Big Y Foods is a family owned supermarket chain serving Massachusetts and Connecticut for over 75 years. They have 61 store locations and over 9,000 employees. Big Y Foods began diverting food waste from disposal in the mid-1990s. Today, all the stores recycle cardboard, paper, and film plastics, and more than 80 % of the Big Y locations throughout Massachusetts have active composting programs. In 2010, Big Y diverted over 15,500 tons of materials and in 2011, they added four composting locations in Worcester county and improved recycling, resulting in over 16,000 tons of materials diverted. "Reducing waste and saving energy is an important part of doing the right thing for the environment and our community. It is simply the way Big Y Foods does business now," says Matt D'Amour, Director of Store Development. The recognition event on September 18 at the Franklin, MA store will recognize this great accomplishment and mark the start of yet another composting and recycling success at this newest Big Y location which opened last month.

MassDEP and the MA Food Association have a Supermarket Certification Program through which supermarkets that implement certain recycling, food donation and organics diversion programs receive regulatory relief from the MassDEP Waste Ban enforcement. Big Y Foods diverts food waste for composting, recycles cardboard and film plastics which earned them this Certification. "Food waste and other organic materials represent a quarter of today's solid waste, amounting to more than 1 million tons a year," said MassDEP Commissioner Kenneth Kimmell. "The 300 recycling certified supermarkets in Massachusetts, including the Big Y stores, have recognized that not only can they protect the environment through aggressive recycling, they can also save money and be a leader in their community." In 2011, Big Y Foods passed the 80% Certification rate statewide, extending the benefit of regulatory relief to all Big Y stores. Big Y is also an inaugural participant in EPA's Food Recovery Challenge.

Big Y implemented these programs by collaborating with the Center for EcoTechnology (CET), a non-profit environmental organization that helps businesses improve environmental performance, and the bottom line. In the mid-1990s, CET helped Big Y start diverting food waste from disposal at a few locations in western Massachusetts. Over the next 15 years, CET and Big Y worked together to expand composting to nearly 30 stores across Massachusetts. "Big Y Foods has been a pioneer in the supermarket industry, and has integrated energy efficiency, recycling and composting as a standard operating procedure. Their efforts have had dramatic positive environmental and cost savings impacts," says Lorenzo Macaluso, Director of Green Business Services for the Center for EcoTechnology.

For more information on how your business can start or improve upon an existing recycling or composting program, contact RecyclingWorks in Massachusetts -- a recycling assistance program administered by the Center for EcoTechnology under contract with the MassDEP. RecyclingWorks in MA helps businesses and institutions maximize recycling, reuse, and composting opportunities. A RecyclingWorks Expert can be reached by calling (888) 254-5525, or emailing info@recyclingworksma.com. Or visit the website www.recyclingworksma.com.