SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (News4Utah) – Smith’s Food and Drug Stores are setting an ambitious goal of becoming a zero waste business by 2025. A major focus is on eliminating food waste while feeding those in need.

Kroger Company, which owns Smith’s, is the 2nd largest grocery retailer in the U.S., and it is making the push nationwide.

Troy Overton is Store Director of the Smith’s location in Sugar House which has adopted waste reduction policies for years. Overton said things have changed a lot since he started 35 years ago.

“I’m very surprised because we just used to throw everything away,” said Overton. “There is a use for almost everything.”

For years, Smith’s has recycled cardboard and paper. In recent years, they’ve offered plastic bag recycling and sold reusable bags which are more popular than ever.

“They sell very, very well here,” said Overton. “We have to order hundreds per week just to make sure we stay in stock.”

Along with those small steps they also recycle all of the cooking oil in their deli. The excess fat and bones cut from meat in store shelves is also processed for bio diesel.

Aubriana Martindale, a spokesperson for Smith’s Utah Office, said one of the reasons they are focusing on food waste is because the amount lost in the process is staggering.

“40 percent of food produced gets wasted, that’s nearly half,” said Martindale. “What if I told you if we could eliminate 25 percent of that food production we wouldn’t have food insecurity anymore.”

Experts note a major part of reducing food waste is for shoppers to change their habits when it comes to the look of food. Often times perfectly good produce is thrown away because it has blemishes. Best by dates on food is only for peak freshness and does not determine a food’s safety for eating.

Smith’s is already donating those foods, along with those near their best by date to local food banks. Overton said the steps they’ve already taken have greatly reduced what goes in the trash. While they used to need trash pick up every other day, it’s now down to once a week.

Smith’s is seeking ideas from customers on social media. They are asking people to use #ZeroHero and for every post they will donate $5 to the World Wildlife Fund.