Whitsons Culinary Group Expands Sustainability Efforts through Taskforce Green Program

At Whitsons, we have reaffirmed our dedication to sustainability with our Taskforce Green program. This initiative is designed to promote sustainable practices in our operations and communities, aiming to reduce the carbon footprint across all locations served.

Whitsons has been at the forefront of sustainable efforts, partnering with schools and other organizations to implement impactful environmental initiatives. Recent endeavors include:

Composting and Recycling Programs:

  • The school nutrition team in Lexington Public Schools, MA, has spearheaded sustainability efforts, composting 130 tons of food waste annually. Through initiatives like Food Share and participation in the NexTrex Recycling Challenge, they've recycled approximately 1,500 lbs. of plastic bags and film this school year.
  • Inspired by Lexington's success, other Whitsons locations, including those in Easton Public Schools, MA, Fairfield Public Schools, CT, Oxford Public Schools, CT, Newton Public Schools, MA, and Timberlane Regional School District, NH, have collectively recycled more than 3300 lbs. of plastic bags and film through the NexTrex Challenge during the 2023-24 school year, thus far.

Compost Partnerships:

  • In Fairfield Public Schools, CT, the school nutrition team has supported the district’s partnership with Sustainable Fairfield, Fairfield PTA Council Green Teams, and Sustainable CT to expand composting cafeteria and kitchen waste in 11 school buildings. So far, 181,000 lbs. of food waste have been diverted from landfill through composting, which reduces emissions by the equivalent of 126,000 miles of driving.
  • In Everett Public Schools, MA, the nutrition team has collaborated with Bootstrap Compost through a partnership with the City of Everett to compost 9,185 lbs., or more than five tons of food waste, with the compost being returned to local soils and donated to community gardens such as Everett Community Growers.
  • Whitsons supports a school partnership with CERO for a compostable waste program in Wellesley, MA, diverting over 7,500 lbs. of compostable waste in February 2024 alone.

Reducing Food Waste:

  • Through partnerships with organizations like Rescuing Leftover Cuisine, Whitsons locations have redistributed excess food, preventing over 5,000 lbs. of emissions and serving almost 1,800 meals to those in need.

Promoting Plant-Based Options:

  • Whitsons ranked 6th on the HSUS Protein Sustainability Scorecard, reflecting our commitment to providing plant-based options. Initiatives like our Veggabóls program have resulted in increased plant-based offerings and significant greenhouse gas savings.

Food Waste Diversion and Repurposing:

  • Whitsons Prepared Meals Division partners with Zutat Feed Solutions to repurpose excess production of peanut butter & jelly sandwiches, diverting over 1.6 million pounds of waste annually.

Coats for Communities: 

  • Our annual coat drive resulted in us provided warmth to 700+ people in need, while keeping these gently used coats out of landfills. 

Solar Eclipse Glasses Recycling:

  • Whitsons' "Sharing the Sun" initiative collects used solar eclipse glasses for repurposing, supporting future eclipse events worldwide.

Sustainability Education:

  • Whitsons' Corporate team met on Earth Day to learn more about everyday sustainable practices around Reusing, Repurposing, and Reducing. The team discussed best practices on reusable items such as water bottles, food containers, bags, and green supplies, repurposing items creatively in lieu of discarding, and reducing food waste through the Food Recovery Hierarchy, understanding product labels, freezing excess fresh food, and portioning during food preparation. 

Paul Whitcomb, Whitsons’ President & CEO, commented: “I am proud of the accomplishments of Whitsons team members throughout the organization for their efforts in reducing waste and supporting sustainability in their communities and reducing the company's carbon footprint through everyday operations. These efforts underscore Whitsons' commitment to sustainability and the company's role as one of the original members of the U.S. Food Loss and Waste 2030 Champions.” 

Click here to view the HSUS Protein Sustainability Scorecard.