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Cooper’s Foods is a local grocery store in Saint Paul that sells everything from basic essentials to specialty items found around the world.

Opportunity

Over a decade ago, Cooper’s Foods became one of the first participating businesses in “It’s in the Bag“, a shrink film and plastic bag recycling program that employs individuals with disabilities.

Caring for others and the community has long been a core value at Cooper’s Foods. Owner Sarah Cooper wanted to expand their sustainable practices throughout the stores, so they reached out to BizRecycling’s Recycling Experts to get help setting up commercial composting collections at two stores.

How We Helped

Our Recycling Experts visited Cooper Foods to learn about their waste stream. They came up with options for collecting trash, recycling and organics. They connected Cooper Foods with local haulers who provide all three services.

One hauler met with Cooper and offered preferable pricing to provide trash, single-sort recycling, and organics collection services. Cooper switched to this hauler at both of their stores.

Outcomes

Getting the organics recycling set up was fairly simple. The store keeps collection carts in walk-in coolers in the various departments, including meat and produce, to keep odors down and reduce the need for compostable bags. The organics are picked up by the hauler on a weekly basis.

Thanks to their organics recycling program, Cooper’s Foods are diverting about 100,000 pounds of food waste and other organics every year from the trash. This is saving roughly $3,500 a year on trash hauling costs.

Cooper told us, “I’m glad that we saved a bunch of money – that’s a huge perk – but what’s been really cool is to see our employees starting to think more about what they can recycle and compost, which for some of them isn’t something they’ve done before. We reduced our landfill waste by half.”

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