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Meijer Cleans Up the Great Lakes Region With Drone Technology

Sustainable retailer donates $250K to improve Midwest waterways and beaches, as it prepares for annual golf tournament supporting hunger relief
Lynn Petrak, Progressive Grocer
Meijer plastic cleanup
Since 2022, Meijer has worked with the Council of the Great Lakes Region to collect litter from area beaches and waterways.

Meijer, which has previously supported and invested in beach and waterway cleanup efforts, has donated $250,000 to the Council of the Great Lakes Region (CGLR) Foundation. The funds will be used to deploy robots and drones that remove litter.

This is the third year of partnership between Meijer and CGLR Foundation, which uses BeBot and PixieDrone technologies. Last year, those systems removed an estimated 18,000 pieces of debris.

In 2024, the retailer’s donation will be used for cleanups in the Milwaukee area through the Milwaukee Riverkeeper organization. The robots and drones will be used in river corridors through the Milwaukee, Menomonee and Kinnickinnic River Watersheds. 

"At Meijer, we continue to make significant progress in protecting our beautiful Great Lakes so they can be enjoyed for generations to come," said Erik Petrovskis, director of environmental compliance and sustainability. "We are grateful to partner with the CGLR, which helps us live our purpose of enriching lives in the communities we serve and expand our environmental partnerships in important markets that directly impact our Midwest footprint."

A representative from the Foundation thanked Meijer for its support of the Great Lakes region. "The CGLR Foundation is very pleased to be partnering with Meijer to expand the Great Lakes Plastic Cleanup to Milwaukee, a joint initiative with Pollution Probe in Canada," remarked Mark Fisher, president and CEO of the CGLR. "Through our partnership with Meijer, we are able to use innovative capture and cleanup technologies to learn more about the type of plastics on our beaches and in our waterways, sources and pathways, and how government, industry, coastal communities, and consumers can work together to end plastic waste and litter."

Meijer also announced that it is hosting a public beach cleanup at Lighthouse Park Beach in Manitowoc, Wis., on May 9. At the event, partners from the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh will launch their BeBot for the season. 

In addition to supporting sustainability efforts, Meijer is on a parallel track supporting people in and beyond the communities it serves. The company is gearing up for the 10th annual Meijer LPGA Classic for Simply Give, a professional golf tournament featuring 144 of the top female players in the world. Running June 13-16 at the Blythefield Country Club north of Grand Rapids, the tournament raises funds for Meijer’s Simply Give hunger relief program, comprised of food pantries across the Midwest. Over the past nine years, the tournaments have generated more than $10 million to feed families in need. 

[RELATED: Meijer Asking for Shoutouts for Special LPGA Tournament Promotion]

Privately owned Meijer operates 500-plus supercenters, Meijer Grocery, neighborhood markets and Express locations throughout Michigan, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Kentucky and Wisconsin. The Grand Rapids, Mich.-based company is No. 23 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. PG also named the company one of its Retailers of the Century and one of its 10 Most Sustainable Grocers for 2024. 

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