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Big Y Foods, Inc. is an "Outstanding Recycler of the Year," said The Springfield Materials Recycling Facility (SMRF) advisory board in Massachusetts.
The award was created to honor individuals, departments, and organizations that have worked toward increasing recycling in their neighborhood or region.
The Center for Ecological Technology (CET), a local nonprofit, nominated Springfield-based Big Y for the award. CET helped the regional grocer up its recycling efforts.
A veteran food waste composter and cardboard recycler, Big Y collaborated with CET last year to expand both efforts at seven additional stores, which began diverting food waste, wood, wax cardboard, and floral waste for composting.
In the spring and summer of 2007, Big Y also started collecting film plastics for recycling at all of its stores. The company collects shrinkwrap from pallet loads and case plastics in the back of each store, and collects consumer bags at the front end. All film plastics are baled, then marketed to Trex to be used in plastic lumber manufacturing.
The chain said its new film plastics recycling and cardboard recycling efforts accounted for over 13,750 tons of material diverted from landfills last year. A member of the Massachusetts Department of Environmental Protection Supermarket Certification Program, Big Y has also been promoting canvas shopping bags at its stores.
One of the largest independently owned supermarket chains in New England, Big Y operates 57 stores in Connecticut and Massachusetts.