NZ grocer’s ‘mega-efficient’ waste-minimisation program

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New Zealand grocery chain Foodstuffs diverted 27.1 tonnes of waste from landfill per store in August with its audited waste-minimisation program.

More than 120 stores have signed up to the program, which has increased the average waste-diversion rate from 64 per cent to 84 per cent and led to the equivalent of more than 3.2 million meals being donated to community food-bank services in the past 12 months.`

Foodstuffs New Zealand Managing Director Steve Anderson shared the results following the company being named a finalist in the Efficiency Champion category for the country’s 2017 Sustainable Business Network Awards.

“The team has really taken the mantra to heart that we’re guardians of both our community and the environment,” he said. “We’re making huge inroads into reducing our impact on our surroundings, all while ensuring that the most vulnerable in our communities benefit as well.”

Mr Andersons says every Foodstuffs team member is involved in reducing waste in all its forms.

“It just makes so much sense,” he said. “Waste costs. It costs in terms of environmental and social damage, it’s expensive to remove and affects the country in which we have the privilege to live and work.

“Our waste-diversion rate is very impressive. We’re looking at an estimated 32,300 tonnes of residual waste prevented from ending up in landfill in the past 12 months. As we extend the program throughout the business, the positive impact will be increasingly felt by the business and local councils. We know that many councils are looking at zero-waste targets, and we’re playing our part in that ambition.”

Diverted waste is made up of about 61 per cent tradeable commodities (cardboard, paper and plastic film), six per cent other mixed recyclables, 29 per cent bakery produce and protein for repurposing or reprocessing, and four per cent food donated for human consumption.

“New Zealand’s future depends on all of us being committed to treading lightly,” Mr Anderson said. “We’ve been serving the community for nearly 100 years. It’s up to us to make sure that we continue to do so sustainably, ensuring the New Zealand we know and love is here for many hundreds of years to come.”

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