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Grocery stores

Grocery store operations, which include food products, fresh produce, meat, deli, household cleaning supplies, health and beauty products, and other household products, have a number of environmental requirements. The primary areas of environmental compliance relate to waste (food waste, hazardous waste, solid waste, recycling and wastewater) and air emissions (including refrigeration, among others). The DNR is here not only to provide business owners compliance assistance, but also to provide valuable resources to increase your company's bottom line, expand on your customer base, save time as well as money, and stay ahead of the legislative curve.

Compliance assistance

The Center for Retail Compliance (CRC) has compiled a range of information and resources to help grocery stores and other retail operations understand their environmental obligations and compliance options. Go to the CRC's Grocery section of the Store Operations and review other sections as well where they overlap with other retail operations. Information provided below is EPA information not available at CRC, is specific to Wisconsin stores, or is important enough to repeat it here.


Retail food refrigeration is a critical element of any grocery store operation. If the equipment fails, repairs are needed immediately — yet those repairs need to follow strict EPA requirements. Also, refrigeration equipment requires a lot of energy to operate. If the equipment is inefficient, the costs of operation can be substantial.

Food waste

The EPA encourages sustainable management of food and food wastes and provide information and resources on their website.

Feeding America organizations can connect retail donors to get usable food to the people who will use it. Learn more at Feeding America Eastern Wisconsin on their Retail Partners page.


The DNR provides a number of business recycling fact sheets and resources to help a business owner understand their requirements. Learn more about Business and workplace recycling.

Plastic bags and some packaging materials may be recycled. Learn more on Reducing, reusing and recycling plastic bags and wrap. Maybe you have space to provide a collection bin. Learn more about starting your own program in the publication Plastic film recycling tips for businesses and retailers starting a collection program (WA-1703).

Consider utilizing or selling green resources

With the number of consumers demanding green products, services and industries increasing each year, businesses incorporating sustainability into their practices are finding an increased customer base and enhanced bottom line through the formulation of a competitive advantage. Providing reusable or biodegradable bags and reducing or recycling packaging materials are just a couple of the many things you can do to green your business.

Financial resources

For more information on loans, grants and other programs designed to help small businesses, see the financial resources pages.

Additional resources