Grocery stores can produce a lot of waste, from spoiled food that must be thrown out to plastic shopping bags. Businesses that want to take a more environmentally friendly approach to operations need to get creative to help solve these problems. Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to help ensure your grocery store has a more positive impact on the environment. Here are just some of the many options you may want to consider.
Biodegradable Plastic Bags
While some customers may already be in the habit of bringing their own reusable shopping totes to your store, not everyone has gotten on board with this idea. Using biodegradable plastic T-shirt bags to package groceries can be one handy solution for shoppers in need of bags. This type of bag is typically constructed from organic materials that can break down more quickly in landfills, which can result in less waste. Look for bags that are green in color and that show your store's commitment to the environment. This can help environmentally conscious shoppers feel good about visiting your store, even if they forget their reusable tote bags at home.
For your deli, seafood counter, and hot food bar, consider compostable containers as an alternative to plastic ones. Some compostable containers are made from sugarcane, wheat straw, or other plant-based materials. These containers can break down in compost piles, which can provide a benefit to the environment. You can find compostable containers in an array of shapes and sizes, including bowls, plates, and even meal trays. If your store sells lunches to go, consider purchasing compostable straws and flatware customers can take with them.
Offer Ripe Produce Discounts
When grocery stores throw away spoiled products, the environment is impacted in a number of ways. This food fills dumpsters and landfills, and the need for more food drives gas-guzzling trucks along the highways to deliver more with greater frequency. Instead of tossing fruit and veggies that are close to being too ripe, consider offering a discount on these items. Create a bargain bin area where customers can choose from fruits and veggies that might only be good for a day or two. Be sure to post signage to let customers know why the food is being discounted. You may find that customers are willing to cook the produce that night in order to take advantage of the deal. You can also implement this strategy in your bakery and meat department. Be sure that any food still in the store at the end of the day is disposed of in a compost-friendly dumpster instead of the trash.