Organics Recycling Case Study

Quest Client Achieves 99.99% Landfill Diversion of Organics

With the help of Quest, one of the nation’s largest retailers has developed a strong sustainability program over the last decade that focuses on financial stability and environmental responsibility. The corporation set a goal to achieve zero waste across all global operations and has been working to meet the lofty goal. To manage landfill diversion efforts for food waste, the retailer relies on Quest Resource Management Group.

As one of the largest grocery retailers in the nation, the company boasted 4,880 locations in the United States under its corporate umbrella in 2015. Combined, the retail locations generate more than 400,000 tons of food waste annually.

Key Challenges:

• Effective program communication for more than 1 million employees
• Management of more than 70 organics recycling service providers
• Accurate reporting for all U.S. locations

Organics Recycling Program

Quest developed a comprehensive food recycling program that built on the client’s existing food donation efforts. The organics landfill diversion program includes:

• Direct animal feed
• Processed animal feed
• Composting
• Biodigesting


Quest has been a trusted sustainability partner for the client’s organics program since 2010. Quest provided a full-service program to manage regional service providers physically collecting organic waste for recycling at individual stores. This approach provided the client’s employees across the nation with a single point of contact for all customer service and organics bin collection requests.

Quest’s centralized billing and reporting provided ease of operation for the retailer. To ensure ongoing program success, onsite waste audits and training were offered at various locations throughout the year.

In 2015, Quest helped the client successfully:

• Recycle more than 406,000 tons of organics
• Achieve a landfill diversion rate of 99.99% for organics
– 50.23% recycled into processed animal feed
– 25.75% recycled as direct animal feed
– 20.91% composted
– 3.1% biodigested
• Prevent more than 35,800 metric tons of CO2 emissions
– The equivalent emissions nearly 930,000 cars produce in a year

For an in-depth look at food waste and recycling, download our Retail Food Waste in the U.S. white paper.

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