Ahead of Earth Day, Tops Touts Sustainability Practices

Grocer’s efforts include recyclable packaging, eco-friendly cleaning products, EV-charging stations, solar power, greener trucks
Tops Bioflex Bags Main Image
Tops has deployed BioFlex bags instead of traditional plastic bags for its potatoes, becoming the first retail chain to adopt this technology.

To mark Earth Day on April 22, Tops is publicizing the various practices it has implemented to protect the environment. These include the following:

  • Tops has deployed BioFlex bags instead of traditional plastic bags for its potatoes, becoming the first retail chain to adopt this technology. BioFlex increases the natural microbial activity in modern landfills and contributes 19 times more energy than that of regular plastic. The FDA-compliant, 100% recyclable packaging biodegrades in landfills and converts into renewable methane gas. “BioFlex ticked all the boxes for us,” said Jeff Cady, director produce and floral at Tops. “A quality product solution that is engineered to break down in landfills all while diverting greenhouse-gas emissions. A win-win.”

[Read more: "Another Multi-Million Dollar Renovation Soon to Be Unveiled by Tops"]

  • The Tops Full Circle line of products is nontoxic, plant-based, and free of dyes and fragrances. The private label line included detergent, eco-friendly paper towels and bath tissue, and all-purpose cleaning sprays.
  • In a collaboration with EVolve NY and The New York Power Authority, Tops debuted its first high-speed electric vehicle (EV)-charging hub at its LaGrangeville, N.Y., store. EV-charging stations are now also available in Williamsville, Rhinebeck and New Paltz, N.Y. The grocer is currently involved in talks with Tesla and other vendors to add new EV charging stations in New York state’s Erie, Livingston and Cattaraugus counties. “Tops’ EV-charging stations are environmentally conscious and convenient, and tie perfectly into Tops’ sustainability efforts and mission, reducing environmental waste and energy consumption all while providing our customers with sustainably sourced, high-quality products,” observed Kathy Sautter, the company’s public and media relations manager.
  • In 2022, Tops continued to increase its use of solar energy by partnering with Houston-based EDP Renewables to provide solar power to even more of its stores. In partnership with New York-based Convergent Energy + Power and now EDP, 82 Tops stores will run on energy-saving solar power. Tops originally teamed up with Convergent in 2021 to enable stores to be powered by solar farms, which reduces their carbon footprint. Convergent’s solar-plus-storage projects provide access to solar energy regardless of whether the sun is shining and reduce the state’s reliance on power plants during peak demand hours. “Convergent and EDP are dedicated to mitigating the impact of a warming planet on current and future generations by advancing the clean-energy transition, so expanding a partnership of this nature seemed only fitting,” said Sautter.
  • Last year, Tops further enhanced its fleet of trucks by converting to 48 new compressed natural gas trucks. Fueled with clean-burning natural gas rather than diesel fuel, the trucks will eliminate 3,246 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent annually by fueling 1 million diesel gallons equivalent of renewable natural gas.

“Our ongoing commitment to sustainability is met with enthusiasm and resolve every day, as we work to ensure we leave our communities — and our planet — better for the next generation,” noted Tops President John Persons. “We are excited to be working with so many business partners whose values align with our environmental conservation vision.”

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC operates 149 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc., is No. 44 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2022 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America.

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