GIANT Food Stores Gain National Recognition for Minimizing Environmental Impact, Maximizing Food Donations

In December 2018, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency recognized GIANT Food Stores, LLC of Carlisle, PA for its food recovery achievements that include donating more than 3.9 million pounds of food to food banks in 2017. This is equal to 3,268,333 meals served. 


GIANT Food Stores received the EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional award in the Data Driven category for grocery store chains.


“As a food retailer, we are committed to reducing waste and minimizing our environmental impact, while at the same time maximizing food donations to our regional food banks,” said Nicholas Bertram, president of GIANT Food Stores. “Our ‘Meat the Needs’ program has been a game changer for our company and our food bank partners, diverting food from landfills and onto the plates of those in need. We are honored to have these ongoing efforts recognized by the EPA.”


GIANT’s food recovery efforts date back to 2008, when the company teamed up with the Central Pennsylvania Food Bank to create the innovative charitable meat rescue program called “Meat the Needs.” Considered a huge success and a “game changer” for Central Pennsylvania’s regional food banks, now all of the company’s 172 stores safely freeze and donate meat that is pulled from sale, a day before its sell-by date.


“EPA is proud of the way GIANT Food Stores has developed a program to reduce food waste that is having a tremendous impact on those in need,” said EPA Mid-Atlantic Regional Administrator Cosmo Servidio. “Through EPA's Food Recovery Challenge, EPA partners with municipalities, businesses, nonprofits and other entities to reduce the amount of food in landfills and help them save money on waste disposal.”


GIANT’s efforts to reduce food waste are one of the many ways GIANT is doing its part to leave a happier, healthier world for generations to come. This includes using energy efficient technology, reducing waste in our stores and reducing carbon emissions in our stores and supply chain.


In 2017, GIANT saved over 930,000 trees by recycling cardboard. Every ton of recycled cardboard saves 17 trees, 380 gallons of oil, 3 cubic yards of landfill space, 4,000 kilowatts of energy and 7,000 gallons of water. Currently, 77 percent of all waste generated by GIANT’s stores is diverted through recycling and composting.


Since 2011, GIANT Food Stores and its parent company have worked to reduce the use of plastic bags in stores. Through more efficient bagging on the part of associates, as well as programs like our “Better Bagging” campaign—which distribute reusable tote-bags to customers—over 1 billion plastic bags have been removed from the waste-stream. Additionally, through its “Bags to Benches” program, which forms park benches out of recycled plastic bags, the company has donated 1,500 park benches.


In April 2018, GIANT's Reduced Emissions Program was announced as part of the company's ongoing sustainability efforts. For every qualifying gallon of fuel purchased at a GIANT or MARTIN'S Food Markets fuel station, GreenPrint will invest in carbon projects across the globe, like creating local greenscapes or tree plantings. These efforts will offset up to 30 percent of the customer's tailpipe carbon emissions. In 2018, more than 11,000 trees were planted through GIANT's Reduced Emissions Program. That is equal to 31,489 metric tons of CO2 offset, equivalent to 4,720 homes' electricity use for one year.


Last September, GIANT announced its Cleona, PA store located at 481 West Penn Ave., as the first in the chain to reach zero waste. A recognized definition by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, zero waste means 90 percent or more of a store's total waste is being diverted from a landfill or incineration.


Visit to learn more about the company's sustainability programs.


Founded in 1916, the Pennsylvania Chamber of Business and Industry is the state's largest broad-based business association, with its membership comprising businesses of all sizes and across all industry sectors. The PA Chamber is The Statewide Voice of BusinessTM.