R.I. Shaw’s Stores Close in on Zero-waste Milestone

Two Shaw’s Supermarkets in Rhode Island have reached major milestones in their bids to attain zero-waste status in accordance with the West Bridgewater, Mass.-based grocery chain’s program. By diverting more than 90 percent of store waste from local landfills, the Barrington and Cranston stores are latest to accomplish this goal.

Featuring an innovative approach to recycling, organic composting and food donations, Shaw’s zero waste program aims to eliminate landfill waste from operations. Each store now maximizes recycling, food donations, organic composting and overall waste reduction so less trash goes to area landfills. Additionally, every location now diverts all of its organic materials, soft plastics, hard plastics, and all paper and cardboard. Shaw’s, a division of Minneapolis-based Supervalu, revealed its first five zero-waste stores in April of this year.

“We are committed to sustainable operations at Shaw’s and continually work to use resources more efficiently, reduce waste, and devise solutions that enable our customers to feel good about shopping with us,” said Shaw’s President Mike Stigers. “I have our associates to thank for their efforts to help these additional two stores achieve this important milestone. Their continued efforts will be pivotal as we expand our zero-waste efforts to additional stores.”

Collectively, Shaw’s stores have kept more than 32 million pounds of waste from local landfills and donated more than 2 million meals to local food banks and hunger relief efforts since 2011.

The Barrington store achieved 90.76 percent total waste diversion, recycling 731,077 pounds, composting 187,694 pounds and donated 9,450 meals to food banks, while the Cranston store achieved an even more impressive 90.81 percent total waste diversion, recycling 1,156,204 pounds, composting 228,800 pounds, and donating 19,087 meals to food banks.

Additionally, a Shaw’s in Lancaster, N.H., has just joined the zero-waste program, bringing the total number of the chain’s stores taking part to eight.

A key element of the company’s waste diversion efforts is its “Fresh Rescue” program, which donates fresh items such as meat, dairy and produce that have reached their sell-by date but are still safely edible to local nonprofits. Last year, Shaw’s donated 3.3 million pounds of food that would otherwise have gone to waste.

To be recognized in the zero-waste program, an individual store must divert a minimum of 90 percent of all waste from landfills, and set a goal to continue working toward 100 percent waste reduction. These stores were recently audited by Supervalu’s sustainability team and internally certified as having a total landfill diversion rate of more than 90 percent.

Shaw’s and Supervalu’s waste reduction mission also prompts them to invite customers to adopt daily  waste reduction practices.

There are 169 Shaw's, Osco and Star Market stores employing about 21,000 associates in five New England states.

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