May 10, 2018
shopping cart in an aisle


The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) implemented regulatory laws requiring retailers to achieve environmental compliance almost 50 years ago, but today, it is individual state agencies that are leading the way to protect human health and the environment. Companies found in violation of the new, increasingly complex and diverse state laws could face impressive fines and damage to their brand reputation more than ever before. Because of these harsh penalties, many retailers have rushed to build compliance programs using multiple vendors that have extensive knowledge in an individual state or region, but not collectively across the country.

Many retail organizations’ already strained regulatory and environmental departments became even more under resourced when faced with the challenging task of managing multiple environmental contractors.  There are several challenges this segmented approach poses which include  a lack of disciplined and standardized operating procedures from one store location to the next,  consolidating reports with varying input data sets, and developing a comprehensive budget as each contractor has a varying cost structure. Despite putting together a program that achieves minimum compliance, many retailers aren’t maximizing their opportunities for efficiency and sustainability, and waste hundreds of thousands of dollars in the process.

The Problem

A large national supermarket chain practiced this disjointed, environmental waste approach for years. The chain had contracted with various waste management companies each specializing in one area of the waste business to provide state-specific environmental solutions, including US Ecology. The required interaction with many companies resulted in years of frustration caused by inconsistent service standards, duplicative profiling, inconsistent data delivery and differing cost structures. That’s when US Ecology helped the supermarket chain implement a smarter, more efficient process to achieve compliance.

The Solution

By partnering with US Ecology, a leading environmental waste solutions provider with national experience, this large chain was able to consolidate efforts and implement standardized practices across all locations. With a thorough transition process already established, US Ecology developed and implemented a customized program for the supermarket within 90 days. The company went from providing solutions to 1,000 regional stores, to servicing almost 3,000 facilities across the US, including Hawaii, Alaska and Puerto Rico.

US Ecology delivered unparalleled service to the chain store. The company created a dedicated team of professionals to manage all aspects of the supermarket’s waste across the country, whether generated from stores, distribution centers, pharmacies, or fuel stations. In addition to providing a standardized solution to all retail locations, the program also covered the supermarket’s transportation division 24/7/365, in the event of an emergency.

US Ecology technicians and drivers were trained on the nuances of this particular chain’s waste streams and maintain uncompromised compliance in all day-to-day operations. The team has executed over 99% on-time scheduled pick-ups over the last two years. These technicians also help establish standardized backroom layouts for efficient storage of hazardous waste, and provide photos as requested to company executives that serve as a check-in on location performance.

A hotline was created for anyone affiliated with the program, whether a supermarket or US Ecology employee, to call whenever a question or emergency emerged regarding waste pick-ups. A national account manager was appointed as the single point of contact for all supermarket employees, and streamlined communication and interpretation of regulatory laws. This US Ecology employee worked closely with the national regulatory and compliance executives, alleviating their stress and time allocated to the management of a hazardous waste program, instead giving them piece of mind and the ability to focus on other company initiatives. 

The Results

By partnering with US Ecology exclusively for all hazardous waste management needs, the supermarket benefits from simplified, yet disciplined operating procedures. By leveraging technology developed at US Ecology, the chain experiences standardized paperwork and reporting processes to both state and national regulatory agencies, supported by an accurate, customized US Ecology online portal.

More importantly, cost-saving solutions are continually identified that result in a more sustainable business practice for the large national chain. The dedicated team of environmental professionals at US Ecology helps give the company time to focus on their key initiative of greater environmentally-friendly business practices. By choosing US Ecology as the exclusive environmental waste solutions provider, this supermarket now has improved internal practices, a streamlined process, and the peace of mind to continue their day to day operations knowing they are safe and compliant.

Learn More

Partnering with US Ecology as a single source for all hazardous waste management solutions can help maximize company efficiencies, and result in hundreds of thousands of dollars in savings annually. Contact Vince Scheerer, Vice President of Retail Services at US Ecology, at or (800) 592-5489 to learn how easy it is to optimize your environmental compliance program today.