PORTLAND, Ore. — New Seasons Market here, which operates 12 stores, announced that a third party analysis shows that the retailer diverts 92% of its waste away from area landfills, effectively making it a “zero-waste company.”
The analysis was performed by Portland State University’s Community Environmental Services. According to the Zero Waste International Alliance, any organization with a waste diversion rate greater than 90% is considered zero waste.
“This is an incredible accomplishment for our staff,” said Wendy Collie, president and chief executive officer of New Seasons Market, in a statement. “Earning a zero waste rating recognizes years of hard work, commitment, and the constant enthusiasm we have for reducing our environmental impact. Our Green Teams continue to assess internal processes and explore opportunities to waste less, and we’ll continue to strengthen our partnerships in recycling, composting and food donations that have become the norm for our community.”
“Achieving zero waste indicates a high level of dedication to reuse, recycling, recovery and/or reduction,” said Eric T. Crum, director of Community Environmental Services. “New Seasons Market’s employees have a particularly strong zero-waste mindset. For a multi-location grocer to exceed the zero waste threshold, it takes every department and every employee to be committed and aware of their actions and impacts. For most organizations we work with, that requires a considerable effort to overhaul traditional systems and properly educate employees, but New Seasons has institutionalized smart systems not only with staff, but also with local hunger relief partners and regional haulers. These actions have provided great benefit to the company as well as the community and the environment.”
New Seasons Market’s zero-waste efforts include:
• In 2012, the company donated more than 1,400 tons of edible food to hunger organizations and to staff.
• In 2007, the company began working with local produce distributors to switch from using waxed corrugated cardboard, which is the industry standard, to reusable plastic containers. The change has meant generating 95% less solid waste and 29% less greenhouse gas emissions while using 39% less energy.
• In 2007, the company also added a Green Team in every store to champion sustainability initiatives and community partnerships.
• Ten years ago, the retailer began accepting hard-to-recycle plastics (including plastic bags, yogurt and cottage cheese lids, and plastic clamshells) from customers to ensure that these items did not go to the landfill. As of 2012, more than 39 tons were collected from and recycled for customers.
• Through its waste reduction practices, New Seasons Market reduces its energy consumption at a level equal to conserving 34,545 gallons of gas a year.
• The monthly greenhouse gas reductions achieved by New Seasons’ current materials management program are the equivalent of removing the annual emissions from 138 passenger vehicles, or conserving 78,785 gallons of gas.
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