Continuing its role as a leading grocery retailer in the area of environmental sustainability, Albertsons, part of the nationwide SUPERVALU® family of grocery stores, today announced two of its Santa Barbara stores have reached “zero waste” classification in their daily operations.
Through a combination of innovative recycling programs, a food donation program and a joint organic composting program with the City of Santa Barbara, the two stores now divert all non-contaminated waste from landfills and incinerators. In total, over 95% of all waste products from both stores are recycled, reused or composted – exceeding the 90% threshold commonly recognized as zero waste.
“Albertsons, and SUPERVALU as a whole, is committed to leading the way on environmental sustainability and diverting all possible waste from our Santa Barbara stores is a major accomplishment in this effort,” said Rick Crandall, Director of Sustainability at Albertsons. “In addition to keeping waste out of our landfills, we are charting a course for the future of our stores– one that will not only help our environment and the communities we serve, but also the overall success of our business.”
“We are excited that Albertsons, an EPA WasteWise partner, is on the path towards zero waste,” said Viccy Salazar, Materials Management and Stewardship Lead for the Environmental Protection Agency’s Seattle Office. “Based on the results Albertson’s shared with EPA, their two Santa Barbara stores are beyond the 90% diversion rate that is commonly used to mean zero waste. It takes leadership, commitment and a clear vision to achieve those results.”
The stores are located at 3943 State Street and 2010 Cliff Drive in Santa Barbara. The State Street store has reached 95.9% in total waste diversion, with Cliff Drive store achieving 95.1%. Together, the stores divert annually on average 2,074,328 pounds of waste from the landfill, including 808,200 pounds of cardboard, 27,524 pounds of plastic and 2,688 pounds of paper.
Albertsons also partnered with the City of Santa Barbara to establish one of the first citywide composting programs in the United States, which is a key piece of their waste diversion efforts. As a result of this program the city will compost 4,000,000 pounds of food scraps from 120 program participants this year alone.
“As one of the largest generators of organic materials in the city, Albertsons’ participation sets a high bar for sustainable waste management practices on the South Coast,” said Eric Lohel, Environmental Specialist for the City of Santa Barbara.
Another key component of the waste diversion program includes donating staple and perishable product that would otherwise go unused for area food banks. Through Albertsons Fresh Rescue Program, these two stores donate on average a total of 149,598 pounds per year of food to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County.
“Over the past several years, the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County has seen a substantial increase in the variety and volume of product we receive from Albertsons stores,” said Kathy Hayes, Director of Operations for the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County. “The nonprofit organizations and churches who rely on the Foodbank for their food distributions continue to comment on the quality and availability of the product we pickup from Albertsons.”
As stated on the EPA website, the “zero waste” philosophy aims to minimize waste and resource consumption in order to conserve energy, mitigate climate change, reduce water usage, prevent toxics creation, and minimize ecosystem destruction.
The Zero Waste International Alliance defines “zero waste” for businesses as achieving 90% waste diversion from landfills and incinerators.
Albertsons is part of the SUPERVALU family of grocery stores. Albertsons was founded in 1939 and currently operates 463 Albertsons and Lucky supermarkets in Southern California, Southern Nevada, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming. For more information about Albertsons, visit our web site at www.albertsons.com