Tops Markets Details Ongoing Sustainability Efforts

Milestones reached in recycling, food waste, reducing emissions
Bridget Goldschmidt
Managing Editor
Bridget Headshot
Tops Chittenango NY Main Image
Tops is continuing to make progress in its continuing sustainability initiatives.

Tops Markets LLC is celebrating the advances that it continues to make in the area of sustainability. In 2023 alone, the northeast regional retailer’s stores recycled more than 503 tons of organic scraps, including unusable and unsaleable produce, floral, and bakery cull. By partnering with companies like Mokena, Ill.-based Organix Recycling, as well as local recyclers and even farmers, Tops is able to divert food from landfills.  

In other Tops recycling news, the company’s Used Cooking Oil Program has to date recycled more than 102 tons of used cooking oil and repurposed it into such other products as biofuels that help to reduce the world’s carbon footprint, while more than 10,185 tons of cardboard boxes, paper, newspaper, magazines and cardboard displays and 423-plus tons of plastic shopping bags and stretch film are recycled annually.

Tackling food waste head-on, the Fresh Recovery Program, which 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, has been expanded at 130 Tops locations across New York state. Through strategic partnerships, efficient inventory management, and customer engagement, the program repurposed more than 310 tons of food last year. Tops has operated a similar program of this nature for decades, teaming with area food banks, food pantries and community organizations to ensure that surplus food is redirected to those in need, thereby not only helping to eradicate hunger, but also reducing the environmental footprint associated with food waste.

Back in 2015, Tops began converting its fleet of tractors from diesel to compressed natural gas (CNG) at its Lancaster, N.Y., distribution center, partnering with ARI, American Natural Gas (ANG) and Vehicare to procure 48 new CNG tractors. Tops also collaborated with the town of Lancaster and Saratoga Springs, N.Y.-based ANG to build a state-of-the-art on site fueling station. Today, the station is the largest in New York state and one of the latest in the entire country. Additionally, Direct Energy and National Fuel are key partners with the supply and delivery of Tops’ natural gas. This transition enables Tops to work toward its goal of reducing greenhouse gases, including 6.3 million pounds of carbon dioxide, and conserve more than 1.2 million gallons of diesel fuel annually. As a result of the transition, the facility runs more efficiently, and the grocer has lowered fuel operating costs by 40% to 50%.

Williamsville, N.Y.-based Tops Markets LLC has approximately 150 supermarkets, including five franchise stores, and employs more than 14,000 associates in New York, northern Pennsylvania and Vermont. The banner’s parent company, Northeast Grocery Inc. (NGI), is No. 45 on The PG 100, Progressive Grocer’s 2023 list of the top food and consumables retailers in North America. NGI has also been named among PG’s 2024 Top Regional Grocers

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