Albertsons recently announced in a press release that two of its Santa Barbara stores reached “zero waste” status. Each has diverted over 95 percent (2,074,328 pounds) of all waste products from landfill or incineration – meeting the 90 percent standard to be classified as “zero waste.” To accomplish this, the stores relied on three components.
- Recycling: collectively, the stores recycle 808,200 pounds of cardboard, 27,524 pounds of plastic and 2,688 pounds of paper per year.
- Food donation: nearly 150,000 pounds of food per year are donated to the Foodbank of Santa Barbara County through the Fresh Rescue Program.
- Compost: Albertsons and the City of Santa Barbara joined to establish one of the first citywide composting programs in the U.S. This year, the program will compost 4 million pounds from 120 program participants.
The EPA defines “zero waste” as minimizing waste and resource consumption in order to conserve energy, mitigate climate change, reduce water usage, prevent toxics creation, and minimize ecosystem destruction. Achieving this standard shows that Albertsons is moving beyond just recycling to “a more integrated and holistic resource management system” (EPA).