GIANT FOOD helps customers feel “green” on Earth Day

This is “green” as in environment and not “green” as in envy

by Michael Smith (Veshengro)

As part of its year-round commitment to sustainability, Giant Food will celebrate Earth Day in its shopping aisles.

Encouraging its customers to "think green," Giant Food is partnering with General Mills to promote the use of environmentally friendly reusable bags. Customers purchasing $15 worth of select General Mills products from April 17 to April 23 will receive a coupon redeemable for five free reusable bags, allowing consumers to create their own "green checkout starter kit," as multiple bags are typically required for each shopping trip to the supermarket.

"Through grass roots efforts such as this, we are able to reward reusability and to demonstrate the positive impact that reusing bags can have on the environment," said Giant Food Executive Vice President and General Manager Robin Michel. "Helping the environment is a simple act of personal commitment, and by partnering with General Mills and our customers we can make a substantive difference."

With the ultimate goal of changing customers' reliance on plastic and paper bags, which take resources to produce and often end up in landfills, Giant has put into place a multifaceted campaign to encourage customers to switch to reusable bags through economic incentives. For decades, Giant deducted three cents from a customers shopping bill for each reusable bag filled at checkout. Last year, the company increased the incentive amount to five cents per reusable bag.

Beginning April 17, Giant will also feature large in-store displays of energy efficient Sylvania Compact Fluorescent Bulbs. "There are small steps we can all take to conserve energy," added Michel. "We believe that prominent displays of these energy efficient light bulbs will remind our customers that energy conservation can be easy and cost effective."

Giant's other green programs include collecting and recycling plastic bags; recycling store-generated shrink/pallet wrap and cardboard; and instituting recycling programs in store break rooms and support offices. Giant also earned recognition for superior energy performance of its supermarkets by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). The company was the only supermarket chain in the country to be named an ENERGY STAR Leader in 2007. In addition, Giant partners with the EPA through their SmartWay program, demonstrating the company's commitment to reducing fuel consumption and greenhouse gas emissions in their transportation operations.

Giant Food LLC, headquartered in Landover, MD, operates 182 supermarkets in Virginia, Maryland, Delaware, and the District of Columbia, and employs approximately 22,000 associates. Included within the 182 stores are 164 full-service pharmacies. For more on Giant, visit

The story with recycling carrier bags in stores is one that we do want to research a lot deeper soon as I believe that much of that is but “greenwash” and those bags, while being collected, are not, in fact recycled at all but end up in the landfills and incinerators. But, I guess, we shall see.

© 2009