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Two of Supervalu-owned Albertsons’ Santa Barbara stores have reached “zero waste” classification in their daily operations driven by a combination of innovative recycling programs, a food donation program, and a joint organic composting program with the City of Santa Barbara.
These efforts have resulted in the two stores diverting all non-contaminated waste from landfills and incinerators. In total, over 95 percent of all waste products from both stores are recycled, reused or composted – exceeding the 90 percent threshold commonly recognized as zero waste, according to the grocer.
“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.”
The Santa Barbara store has reached 95.9 percent in total waste diversion, and the Cliff Drive store achieved 95.1 percent. 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 its waste diversion efforts. As a result of this program the city will compost 4,000,000 pounds of foodscraps from 120 program participants this year alone.
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.
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 percent waste diversion from landfills and incinerators.
Albertsons operates 463 Albertsons and Lucky supermarkets in Southern California, Southern Nevada, Idaho, Montana, North Dakota, Oregon, Utah, Washington, and Wyoming.