Surplus food that can’t be used by its charity partners to feed vulnerable people is now processed into animal feed to support British farmers or used to generate energy through anaerobic digestion. And all general waste from stores is recycled or turned into fuel.
This milestone – recognised in the prestigious Green Retailer of the Year accolade at the 2013 Grocer Gold Award – is the culmination of three years’ hard work by Sainsbury’s 154,000 colleagues in stores, depots and support centres.
Justin King, Sainsbury’s Chief Executive, said: “We’re very proud of hitting our target for zero waste to landfill which we set three years ago. We know times are tough for many customers but they still rightly expect Sainsbury’s to lead the way on the things that will always matter to all of us including caring for our environment.”
Sainsbury’s is also providing ways for its customers to make their food go further and waste less. For example, through its recent ‘Make Your Roast Go Further’ campaign it helped customers to create two additional family meals from every Sunday roasting joint. It also changed its freezing labels to say ‘Freeze as soon as possible after purchase and always within the use by date’ instead of ‘Freeze on day of purchase’. Last autumn it responded to one of the worst growing seasons farmers experienced in decades by changing its approach to ‘ugly’ fruit and vegetables, allowing food to be sold that would previously have been wasted.
Sainsbury’s has achieved this milestone in a number of ways including:
In 1994, Sainsbury’s helped to found FareShare, a leading UK food redistribution charity, to help relieve UK food poverty. It now provides the charity, as well as over 400 food donation partnerships on a local level, with food fit for human consumption straight from its stores’ back doors and depots.
Sainsbury’s also launched the first ever large scale food drive – the Million Meal Appeal – to collect non-perishable food so that the food FareShare supplies to its network of charities can go even further. In 2011 and 2012, after just three days of campaigning, 3.2 million meals were collected – half were donated by customers and half matched by Sainsbury’s. In 2012/13 Sainsbury’s donated over 10 million meals to food charities across the country including FareShare.
Any waste bakery products not suitable for charities is processed into high energy biscuit meals for animal feed for pigs and cows, supporting British farming.
After this any remaining food waste is turned into energy through anaerobic digestion, which is the most efficient method of generating energy from waste. Sainsbury’s is the UK’s largest retail user of anaerobic digestion, generating enough energy to power 2,500 homes.
General waste is baled in supermarkets and along with general waste from its convenience stores, its backhauled to facilities to be sorted and recycled or turned into fuel.
Putting all waste to positive use, as well as finding opportunities to re-use it, is a key part of Sainsbury’s work around environmental sustainability. It is also one of the targets it set itself to achieve by 2020, as set out in its industry-leading 20x20 Sustainability Plan.
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