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Tops' sustainability efforts continue to pave way for greener future


Mon, Jan 22nd 2024 10:35 am

Guest Editorial by Tops Friendly Markets

As we continue to celebrate the start of a fresh new year, here at Tops we are excited to announce the advances we continue to make not only in our day-to-day efforts to adopt practices that help protect our environment, but also efforts that will make a lifelong impact.

Reduce, Reuse, Recycle

In 2023 alone, our stores recycled over 503 tons of organic scraps, which includes unusable produce, floral, bakery cull, and unsaleable produce. By partnering with companies like Organix Recycling, Tops is able to divert food from landfills. We also partner with local recyclers and, in some instances, farmers, who use this for feed making it a win-win!

Tops used cooking oil program continues to grow by recycling more than 102 tons of used cooking oil and repurposing it into other products such as biofuels that help to reduce the world's carbon footprint and more than 10,185 tons of cardboard boxes, paper, newspaper, magazines and cardboard displays (that’s the weight of a small airplane), and over 423 tons of plastic shopping bags and stretch film are recycled annually.

Tops ‘Fresh Recovery’ Program

The “Fresh Recovery” program that has been expanded at 130 Tops locations across New York is revolutionizing the grocery store industry by tackling food waste head-on. Through strategic partnerships, efficient inventory management, and customer engagement, this program sets a benchmark for sustainability. Last year alone, over 310 tons of food was repurposed!

At its core, the “Fresh Recovery” program focuses on rescuing and repurposing fresh produce and perishable items that would otherwise go to waste, including bakery, deli, meat, seafood, frozen and dairy items. Tops has operated a similar program of this nature for decades, partnering with local food banks, food pantries and community organizations to ensure that surplus food is redirected to those in need. By redistributing these items, the program not only combats hunger, but also reduces the environmental footprint associated with food waste.

Running on Clean

In 2015, Tops made the strategic decision to convert our fleet of tractors from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG) at our Lancaster Distribution Center and hasn’t looked back!

To give us the service and performance we were looking for, we partnered with ARI, ANG and Vehicare to provide Tops with 48 new CNG tractors. We also partnered with the Town of Lancaster and American Natural Gas to build a state-of-the-art on-site fueling station. Today, our station is the largest in New York state, and is one of the latest in the entire country. In addition, Direct Energy and National Fuel are key partners with the supply and delivery of our natural gas.

In making this transition, we are able to work toward our goal of reducing our greenhouse gases, including 6.3 million pounds of CO2, and conserve over 1.2 million gallons of diesel fuel each year. As a result of this transition, our facility is running more efficiently and we have reduced fuel operating costs by 40%-50%.

To learn more about all of Tops sustainability efforts, visit https://www.topsmarkets.com/sustainability.

Based in Williamsville, Tops Markets currently operates 148 grocery stores in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont, including five that are run by franchisees. For more information, visit www.topsmarkets.com.

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