In 2012 we achieved our zero waste to landfill commitment, an achievement that we’re proud of, and we continue to find ways we can improve our operational waste to be more efficient and waste less food.
But managing our own waste just scratches the surface. And we know that reducing food waste is something that’s important to our customers, with the average household spending £700 per year on food that goes to waste*. So we’re investing £10 million over the next five years to help our customers waste less and save more.
This week you’ll start to see some waste messages go up in our stores. These share what we’re doing as a business to reduce waste, operationally and how we’re helping our customers manage theirs too.
All of the fruit and veg we sell complies with something called the Government’s Rural Payments Agency (RPA) marketing standards, which specifies guidelines for the shape, colour, quality and appearance of produce. Some of the fruit and veg we sell may be slightly imperfect but we sell it in our basics range, wonky bits and all. And where we can’t sell it as fresh, where possible, the fruit and veg gets used in further processed products such as apple juice or ready-made mashed potatoes.
Over the past year we’ve helped our customers donate more than 10 million items of clothing to Oxfam – more than anyone else, aside from Oxfam’s own shops. We continue to increase the number of clothing recycling banks across our estate so keep an eye out in your local supermarket car park for a place you can donate your unwanted clothes.
We’ve been running a Food Donation scheme for over 10 years. Our partnerships aim to put any food waste we have to positive use. Food that has passed its sell by date (but not its use by date) or products with damaged packaging that can’t be sold but are safe for human consumption get donated to one of our Food Donation Partners. We actively work with our stores to set up partnerships with charities that use food to fulfil their mission and we’re always looking for more partners so please get in touch to find out more.
In addition to the waste messaging you’ll be seeing around our stores, we’ve also kicked off our Waste less, Save more initiative in Swadlincote, South Derbyshire this week which you can read more about here.
Katee Hui is Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Manager at Sainsbury’s.