WILLIAMSVILLE, NY – At Tops Friendly Markets, social responsibility and sustainability have always been at the core of the company’s mission, upholding standards that ensure the reduction of environmental waste and energy consumption while providing its customers with sustainably sourced, high-quality products. So when the opportunity came to take a closer look at the packaging of its produce items to make a change for the better, it simply made sense.
Traditionally produce from any local grocery is packaged on foam trays which are non-biodegradable, considered the main source of marine debris, and even during manufacturing is said to emit HFC’s or hydrofluorocarbons, which negatively impact the ozone layer and climate change. All of these reasons and more were why Jeff Cady, director of produce and floral for Tops Friendly Markets decided to take a step back and assess what Tops could be doing differently in order to make a positive impact on the environment. That is when Jeff discovered CKF Inc.’s Earthcycle ™ products and saw how closely their sustainability goals aligned with Tops. Made of a certified compostable, recyclable, blend of virgin and wood pulp, Earthcycle products were noted to keep produce fresher, longer – 20% longer than when packed in plastic.
When 70% of produce items can be effectively trayed, combined with the many other environmental benefits of these eco-friendly fiber trays, Tops made the commitment to transition its produce trays from foam to eco-fiber by the end of this summer. Stores are expected to see their first shipment this weekend.
Another way Tops produce department has committed to its environmental impact is its partnership with local growers like Integrow, who is now the sole provider of Greenhouse-grown tomatoes for Tops. Now instead of bringing this product from Leamington, Ontario (255 miles away) or Mexico (2,000 miles away), the product will be transported from Albion, NY (45 miles away) or Webster, NY (75 miles away), 52 weeks a year helping Tops to reduce its carbon footprint, another testament to Tops belief in supporting local growers and reducing its environmental impact.