Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful receives 25 benches & $2,500 from Giant
In observance of Earth Day, Giant Food Stores donated 50 park benches made of recycled plastic bags to community organizations and schools on April 19. Keep Pennsylvania received 25 of the benches and $2,500 to use for the Great American Cleanup.
During a press conference at its Enola store, Giant announced that 10,000 plastic bags are required to make one park bench. The company started its "Bags to Benches" program in 1997 and has donated more than 1,500 benches to local churches, schools, townships, parks and playgrounds.
"Giant has set a goal for 0% waste by 2020 by diverting more than 90% of the waste that currently goes to landfills to other uses," said Tom Lenkevich, president, Giant Food Stores. "We're happy to report that we are at 88% today."
"We are proud to partner with Giant for its Bags to Benches program," said Shannon Reiter, executive director of Keep Pennsylvania Beautiful. "These benches will be placed in parks, pocket parks, community gardens and former vacant lots as part of a larger community improvement strategy that brings Pennsylvanians together, neighbors together and children out to play."
In 2011, Giant began training its employees through better bagging methods, and encouraged customers to recycle and use reusable bags. As a result of its efforts, 15 million plastic bags were removed from the environment.
The company also started partnerships with regional food banks to donate foods that were no longer sellable, but were still edible. Through its Meat the Needs program, the company freezes and donates high quality meat, which would otherwise go unsold. It has donated more the 2.6 million pounds of meat along with bread and bakery items to help feed those in need.
The 2016 Great American Cleanup of PA runs through May 31. For more information, visit www.gacofpa.org or call Michelle Dunn at 877.772.3673 ext. 113.