Tops transitions to eco-friendly produce trays

Dan Ochwat
Executive Editor
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Tops Friendly Markets is switching to a more sustainable eco-friendly packaging tray for its produce, anticipating a full swap by end of the summer.

The retailer’s produce will be packaged in certified, compostable, recyclable trays from CKF Inc.’s Earthcyle line, which uses a blend of virgin and wood pulp. The eco-fiber containers are also noted to keep produce fresher and 20% longer than traditional plastic packages.

The retailer said 70% of its produce can be effectively trayed, and the eco-friendly fiber trays are an upgrade to the foam trays it was using, which are non-biodegradable and considered a main source of marine debris. During manufacturing, the foam trays are also said to emit HFC’s or hydrofluorocarbons, which negatively impact the ozone layer and climate change. 

The new sustainable trays from the Williamsville, N.Y.-based retail chain operating 157 supermarkets in New York, Pennsylvania and Vermont joins another recent move by the supermarket’s produce department to reduce its carbon footprint. The produce department has committed to more local growers like Integrow, who is now the sole provider of Greenhouse grown tomatoes for Tops. Rather than bringing the product from Leamington, Ontario (255 miles away) or Mexico (2,000 miles away), the product will be transported from Albion, N.Y. (45 miles away) or Webster, N.Y. (75 miles away), all year long. The move helps Tops to reduce its carbon footprint.