Sainsbury’s says it has succeeded in diverting all store waste from landfills, reaching its zero-waste goal in just three years — seven years ahead of schedule.
As part of its 20x20 Sustainability Plan, the UK supermarket chain said it would put all waste to positive use by 2020.
Sainsbury’s says excess food that cannot be used by its charity partners is now processed into animal feed to support local farmers or used to produce energy through anaerobic digestion. The company claims to be the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion which, along with donating food to charity, helped it reach its zero-waste goal.
The supermarket chain helped found FareShare, a UK food redistribution organization, and now provides the charity, along with more than 400 local food donation partners, with food acceptable for consumption.
Sainsbury’s is also behind the Million Meal Appeal, a large-scale food drive to collect non-perishable food and supplement its FareShare donations. Through these efforts, in 2011-2012, more than three million meals were collected — half from customer donations and half matched by Sainsbury’s. In 2012-13 the supermarket chain donated more than 10 million meals to charities across the country, which includes FareShare.
In April, Sainsbury’s announced achievement of its water reduction target of 50 percent relative to sales floor area based on 2005 levels, largely through low flow taps, waterless urinals and rainwater harvesting at its stores. By employing 51 alternative fuel technology units for its logistic fleet and using bio liquefied natural gas, Sainbury’s also hopes to save some 25 percent of the site carbon dioxide output over the next four years.
Sainsbury’s is a signatory of the Courtauld Commitment and member of the Product Sustainability Forum, which aims to reduce the weight and carbon impact of household food waste. The company also is working on a number of key supply chain projects to reduce waste and carbon emissions through the end-to-end supply and retail chain.
Sainsbury’s also claims to have opened the UK’s greenest convenience store in Hasluck’s Green in Birmingham. The store was built using wooden panels, demands 30 percent less energy to heat, uses carbon dioxide as a natural refrigerant and utilizes solar power and LED lighting throughout the store. The company earlier this year began selling farmed fish certified by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) in what is apparently an industry first, according to The Grocer.