Major Supermarket Chain to Go “Zero Waste” in 40 Stores

17 Aug

by on 07. 4.11

Image Credit: CMG0220, used under Creative Commons license.

There is already a huge push from consumers and activists for Trader Joe’s to stop wasting food, and the chain has made significant strides in diverting more waste from landfill. Now another supermarket chain is looking to set an example, going “zero waste” in 40 stores. But what does zero waste actually mean?

Supermarket chain Supervalu announced last week that it would be going zero waste in 40 stores. Starting primarily with stores in its Albertsons brand—which has already been trialling high-efficiency fiber optic lighting—but also looking to expand its waste reduction efforts across other stores it owns, the chain is planning to build on the achievements already made by two of its California stores:

“We are aggressively seeking ways to build on our sustainability achievements from this past year,” said Andy Herring, executive vice president, real estate, market development and legal. “While this year’s CSR report captures some of the excitement we shared in being the first food retailer to achieve zero waste in the U.S. at two of our California stores, we truly believe this is the tip of the iceberg for us.”

The store chain will be aiming to achieve this target through an ambitious drive for more recycling, waste reduction, composting, and its Fresh Rescue food bank donation program—which, it reports, donated over 60 million pounds of food across the whole Supervalu group last year.

Interestingly though, zero waste doesn’t quite seem to mean zero waste. According to the press release, achieving zero waste designation means diverting “at least 90% of all waste from landfills”. An impressive achievement, no doubt, but not exactly zero. And given that the two California Albertsons stores that have already achieved zero waste designation seem to be actually exceeding this benchmark, with over 95% diversion from landfills and incinerators, it would seem a little churlish to get too nit-picky about the term itself.

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