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Release Date: 12/11/1997
Contact Information: Leo Kay, Press Office, (617)918-4154

BOSTON -- The Environmental Protection Agency has announced that The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company's Northampton, Mass. store is a participant in the agency's "Partners for Change" program, which encourages New England businesses and municipalities to explore and implement responsible environmental practices in return for EPA recognition.

The EPA is recognizing the Northampton Stop & Shop for participating in a composting project sponsored by the Center for Ecological Technology (CET). Instead of sending waxed cardboard and fruit and vegetable scraps to a landfill for disposal, Stop & Shop is placing these wastes in an eight yard container on its property. These wastes are then delivered to the Smith Vocational Agricultural School farm and turned into composting organic material that is used by farmers in the area. Stop & Shop has expanded the project to their Hadley, East Springfield and West Springfield stores and plans to expand it to all 12 stores in western Massachusetts.

"The efforts undertaken by the Northampton Stop & Shop show that businesses can green the economy while staying in the black," said John P. DeVillars, administrator of the EPA's New England office. "I hope success stories like Stop & Shop's will inspire other regional businesses and municipalities to jump on board the environmental partnership train that is gathering steam in New England."

"Stop & Shop is pleased with its growing partnership with the Center for Ecological Technology through the organic waste composting project," said Dave Grestini, Stop & Shop's Recycling/Waste Removal Coordinator. "Composting removes organic waste from the solid waste stream, conserves natural resources and provides significant economic food value to food retailers. Stop & Shop's results with the organic waste composting project have been extremely positive."

Grestini said that "The Stop & Shop Supermarket Company is making a $1,000 donation to CET to help support their efforts in continuing environmental projects such as this one. Stop & Shop is proud to be a partner with CET and EPA." "Through our work with Stop & Shop, we've shown that composting works economically and environmentally. We're ready to help others get set up and begin realizing the benefits as soon as possible," said Karen Bouquillon, Waste Management Specialist at CET.

Businesses, farmers and waste haulers interested in composting of organic waste are encouraged to contact Karen Bouquillon, CET, at (413)586-7350.

Stop and Shop operates 189 stores in Massachusetts, Connecticut, Rhode Island and New York. All the stores encourage shoppers to reuse their paper bags and recycle their plastic bags. In addition, the company recycles corrugated cardboard and shrink wrap from their distribution facilities.

The Center for Ecological Technology of Northampton, a non-profit organization, was founded in 1976. CET works as a catalyst for changing solid waste and energy practices that adversely impact the natural ecology of the Earth. Working with local industry, government and residents, CET demonstrates and promotes practical applications of sustainable technologies, providing easy and affordable solutions that serve the entire community.

"Partners for Change" is open to any business, municipality or organized group in New England. Small businesses are especially encouraged to apply. To be recognized as a partner, an organization must implement a project or activity that results in a long-term environmentally beneficial change to its daily operations. Such efforts can include waste reduction practices, recycling programs or other efforts that help green the work place.

In return for joining the program, Partners receive a certificate, window decal, and publicity from the EPA. In addition, Partners are featured in a partners-to-partners directory that lists all participating organizations.

To sign up for "Partners for Change," or for more information about the program call 1(800)906-3328. Request the "environmental pocketbook," a resource guide with useful tips on recycling, energy efficiency and waste reduction, as well as phone, e-mail and worldwide web listings of EPA help lines. The pocketbook also includes program requirements and an application.