Independent sister grocers New Seasons Market and New Leaf Community Markets will eliminate single-use bottles of water from all stores by Earth Day, April 22. This latest effort from both retailers to reduce waste in their local communities targets still water, in sizes of 1 liter or under, in single-use plastic, fiber, aluminum or glass containers.
“Combined, beverage bottles, caps and lids make up the second most common form of ocean litter,” noted Athena Petty, senior sustainability manager at New Seasons and New Leaf. “By committing to using reusable bottles, we can remove over a quarter-million single-use plastic, aluminum and glass bottles a year. We’re starting efforts with still water in containers [of 1] liter or less, because opting for reusables is an easy individual choice to help lessen our collective environmental impact.”
Both grocers will continue to offer larger sizes of water in their respective grocery departments, as well as single-serving bottles of sparkling and flavored water that aren’t available from the tap. To help customers adjust, the stores will continue to offer one refillable single-serve bottle of still water from Fremont, California-based Pathwater, a brand committed to ending single-use plastics. Customers will also find reusable water bottles in the stores’ home goods departments.
As well as eliminating single-use water bottles, New Seasons and New Leaf will continue to reward their Neighbor Rewards members with 10 bonus points when they shop with reusables. Program members can also opt in to save paper by choosing to receive e-receipts. Further, the grocers have established a goal to reduce operational waste from their stores, aiming to achieve a 57% landfill diversion rate, and both have set an annual company-wide goal to slash energy use by 5% per revenue dollar.
At New Seasons departments will keep evaluating and implementing such other packaging improvements as transitioning to lighter-weight or reduced-footprint packaging on bulk tubs, half-pie clamshells, grab-and-go items and in produce.
New Seasons employs 3,500 associates across 19 stores in Oregon, Washington and Northern California, serving a mix of locally sourced and organic items, grocery favorites, and chef-made grab-and-go meals. With five stores along California’s Central Coast, organic and natural grocer New Leaf has been a wholly owned subsidiary of New Seasons Market since 2013 and is the first grocer in California to achieve B Corporation certification. Both grocers commit 10% of their after-tax profits to the communities they serve.