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Case Study

Company: QFC

Business Sector: Grocery, Food Services

Published: June 2007


  • Donated more than 1 million pounds of food to Food Lifeline through their “Grocery Rescue Program” in 2006
  • Rolling out company-wide food waste composting program
  • Recycles product and consumer plastic
  • Donates 3.5 cents for each reused grocery bag to Nature Conservancy – donation


QFC stores throughout the Seattle area used to donate quality, edible food to churches, food banks and other local charities because food waste was available and there was always a need for it. The grocer ran into problems, however, when donated products ended up elsewhere for resale. “We used to hear people say they saw someone on the corner selling our products. This scared us. We intended to give away our products for charity, not for resale,” said Kristin Maas, Public Affairs Director for the company. “We had no way to control the quality of the product once we gave it away and it easily could have been compromised,” continues Maas.

QFC found Food Lifeline, Washington State’s largest food bank network, to collect and distribute food donations for all QFC stores. “Food Lifeline sets clear procedures and food handling guidelines for their affiliates, which make it easy for us to do the right thing,” says Maas.

Going Green

QFC implements a number of environmental initiatives in their 77 stores throughout the region. In addition to food donation, the grocer recycles other materials, plans to launch a food waste collection program and rewards consumer grocery bag reuse through donations to Nature Conservancy. QFC’s programs encompass promoting green consumer behavior through advertising and general awareness.  The company hopes to save between 5% and 10% of our current garbage costs through their green efforts.

Food Donation

QFC works with Food Lifeline and their affiliates as part of a program called "Grocery Rescue".  Perfectly edible products such as deli meats and cheeses, bakery items and damaged produce are pulled and donated to Food Lifeline. In 2006, the company donated 1,007,396 pounds of food to Food Lifeline through Grocery Rescue.  “We helped to feed hungry people and kept this product out of the landfills,” says Maas.


QFC recycles all product and consumer plastic bags. Collection bins are provided for customers and all plastic bags are sent back to the warehouse where it is baled and sold for recycling.

Food Waste Collection

QFC is in the process of educating employees about the benefits of composting in preparation for rolling out a composting program across the company. 


QFC donates 3.5 cents to Nature Conservancy every time customers bring in their own bag(s) to reuse for groceries. 

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