Green Waste Bins

Our garbage is greener than most, thanks to a company-wide Green Waste Program that diverts food waste and other compostable materials from local landfills. Over the next few years, Green Waste Bins will be installed at each of our seven stores in Eugene, Corvallis, Portland, West Linn and Ashland.

“Our goal is to divert at least 75 percent of the compostable material that leaves the stores,” says Sustainability Coordinator Scott Cook. “If we manage to divert 100 percent, we’ll save up to 46 percent in sanitation fees and lessen our impact on the environment.”

According to an August 2008 New York Times article, Americans generate roughly 30 million tons of food waste each year, about 12 percent of the total waste stream. All but about 2 percent ends up in landfills. The culprits: restaurants, supermarkets, cafeterias and the average household.

At our Willamette Store in Eugene, a new 20-yard bin replaced two Earth Tubs that were used for 10 years to compost on site and feed local gardens with the nutrient-rich material. With the new receptacle, the store will increase its capacity from 27 tons of compostable material to 180 tons, all of which will be taken to Rexius, an industrial composting facility in Eugene.

We have also installed Green Waste Bins at our Delta Oaks and Corvallis stores. Market of Choice was the first large business in Corvallis to separate compostable food waste and landfill waste, reducing landfill waste by 50 percent and providing Allied Waste an excellent product to use for its compost.

Our Terwilliger store in Portland instituted a successful compost system three years ago as part of Portland Composts! Businesses Dig It, a partnership of Metro and the Portland Bureau of Planning and Sustainability. And our corporate office in Eugene also recycles and composts!

This Green Waste Program will be limited to employee participation initially. Once the program is more developed, it will be expanded to include the dining areas, so that you can participate, as well.

“We hope this will inspire and encourage our employees and customers, as well as other grocery stores, to compost organic materials whenever possible,” Cook says.

In addition, Market of Choice donates thousands of pounds of produce, bakery items and prepared foods to FOOD for Lane County’s Food Rescue Program, which distributes the food to those in need. “Those donations will continue,” Cook says. “Anything that can’t be consumed will be composted.”