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Waste Not
Sainsbury's Ups the Zero-Waste Ante with First 'Triple Zero' Stores

Sainsbury’s new supermarket in Leicester, opening Wednesday, November 27, is one of the British retailer’s two new “triple zero” stores. The 81,700 sq ft store will produce zero carbon emissions from all on-site energy used, send zero waste to landfill and have zero impact on the water usage of the local catchment area because of its water-neutral status.

Neil Sachdev, Sainsbury’s Property Director, said: "We aim to be the UK’s greenest grocer and achieve our 20x20 target to reduce our operational carbon emissions by 30 percent absolute. To do this we’re now building and running highly sustainable, low-carbon stores.

"Our new ‘triple zero’ stores in Leicester and Weymouth Gateway are examples of how we’re achieving this, by using power generated from waste in our supply chain and ‘Water Neutral,’ which includes offsetting partnerships in the local community."

Sainsbury’s says 100 percent of the store’s electricity and heat will be provided by an onsite generator, meaning all operational energy used will be zero carbon. The combined heat and power system will use natural gas from the national gas grid — the rest of the store’s energy needs will be met through biogas, imported from one of the retailer’s dairy farmer’s anaerobic digestion facilities in West Sussex, creating a closed loop.

Also, like all Sainsbury’s stores, none of its waste goes to landfill. All surplus food is either donated to local charities or made into animal feed, and when it’s not suitable for consumption it will feed the anaerobic digester and become biogas. Sainsbury’s says that all other waste, including 100 percent of the waste produced during the store’s construction, is being reused or recycled.

The water required for the water-neutral store will be met through water-efficient measures and infrastructure, as well as an offsetting partnership in the local community, so the total water used within the local catchment area will not increase as a result of this new store. 70 percent of the water demand will come from rainwater harvesting and other water-efficient initiatives. The remaining 30 percent, which is potable water for food preparation, will be offset by sponsoring water-saving initiatives at a partner site in the local community, also substantially reducing its annual water bill. Sainsbury’s says in a year this approach will save enough water to meet the average needs of around 50 homes.

The new store’s eco-friendly innovations also include:

  • A timber structural frame, creating a lower carbon footprint than a standard steel frame
  • Natural CO2 refrigeration to run the chillers and freezers, reducing the carbon footprint by 33 percent
  • LED lighting, which the company says will save enough energy for 13 million cups of tea each year, along with over 120 prismatic roof lights to maximize natural light, which will save enough electricity to light more than 95 homes
  • A Bee Hotel (nesting site) and Bee Café (bee-friendly plants), providing a five star ‘Bee & Bee’ experience for solitary bees from next spring
  • A comprehensive recycling centre for customers to recycle packaging and donate clothing and other items to Oxfam
  • Over 1,200 photovoltaic solar panels on the roof generating enough electricity to power over 200 TVs 24/7 for a year

While rival retailers M&S, The Co-operative and Waitrose have all achieved zero waste to landfill by turning food waste into energy, Sainsbury’s comprehensive approach to environmental stewardship and eliminating waste could very well distinguish it as the UK’s greenest grocer … so far.

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