SupermarketsSupermarkets typically generate food waste, cardboard, waxed cardboard, and shrink wrap, all of which are recyclable or compostable.
Rigid plastics are a common material found in supermarkets, often in the form of icing buckets, seafood trays and pharmaceutical containers – items that have not typically been accepted in most recycling programs. However, there are options and markets for stores who want to take the next step in waste diversion and increase their recycling revenue. The Association of Postconsumer Plastics Recyclers (APR) has several resources available to supermarkets who are interested in collecting rigid plastics, including details about the different sources and how to streamline collection. For more information, videos and pictures, and information about launching a successful program, visit Recycle Grocery Rigid Plastics.

Similar to restaurant takeout, supermarket grab-and-go food options often generate large quantities of packaging and other single-use materials that may not be accepted for recycling through a typical single stream program in Massachusetts. Our Guide for Reducing Waste From Takeout and Delivery Meals offers tips to help your business save money, eliminate necessary waste, and purchase grab-and-go packaging materials that can be reused, recycled, or composted.

Supermarket Case Studies

PDFWhole Foods Market at Medford: Read more about Whole Food’s donation program and partnership with the food rescue organization Food Link.

  • Boston Public Market: Learn how Boston Public Market, with the helped of RecyclingWorks, donates surplus food and compost food scraps.

PDFBoston Public Market Case Study: Learn more about food donation and composting of food scraps from Boston Public Market.

  • America’s Food Basket Case Study: Learn how America’s Food Basket stores worked with CERO, an employee-owned cooperative, and RecyclingWorks to implement a successful waste diversion program.

PDFAmerica’s Food Basket Case Study: Read more about the ways America’s Food Basket supermarkets divert 4.5 tons per week of source separated organics, totaling 234 tons annually.

  • River Valley Market Case Study: Learn how River Valley Market saves money each week by reducing their waste stream through a robust composting program by watching this short YouTube video.

  • PDFBig Y Supermarket Case History: Learn how Big Y supermarkets saved $2.9 million in 2011 by diverting their organic materials and recyclables from disposal.


Learn more about the following business sectors:


When you are ready to start or improve a recycling or composting program, call our Hotline at (888) 254-5524, or email us at

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  1. Unpacking the Potential of Depackaging Food Waste - Center for EcoTechnology

    […] in Massachusetts (updated November 2016). In addition to packaged food, RecyclingWorks created a guidance page for supermarkets which contains resources and case studies regarding common materials generated by the […]

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