Foodstuffs

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

We don’t waste it Foodstuffs announces new Waste Management plans for its PAK’nSAVE and New World stores

Foodstuffs is currently implementing a new waste management plan for its PAK’nSAVE and New World stores nationwide. The plan promises to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill by literally hundreds of tonnes each week.

Foodstuffs is currently implementing a new waste management plan for its PAK’nSAVE and New World stores nationwide. The plan promises to reduce the amount of rubbish going to landfill by literally hundreds of tonnes each week.

Mike Sammons, Foodstuffs New Zealand Sustainability Manager says, “The plan has taken two years from original conception to the first stores beginning implementation in March this year. The key focus currently is on separating out any waste material that can be recycled for another use.”

Sammons says that one of the biggest obstacles was determining what stores were doing in terms of existing waste materials and subsequent tonnages coming out back of store.

“It’s not a sexy subject,” says Sammons. “For that reason it was initially hard to get people engaged, as long as the rubbish was being taken away regularly, the business was generally happy.”

However, according to Sammons when he starting digging into the waste management systems in place, the picture that emerged was one which showed a wide range of practices and store dissatisfaction at rising costs and average to poor service from suppliers. Initially, the challenge was that there was simply no accurate waste data available across the business, so two years ago Sammons was tasked with auditing the stores to get clarity.

Sammons says that process in itself was really interesting. “Being a cooperative you find with Foodstuffs there’s always someone already doing exactly the right thing, the job is to find them and decide whether their model of practice can be replicated to other stores or even nationally.”

With the help of various players in the waste industry, the outcome of the audit led to the development of a generic waste plan. Reducing costs and increasing landfill diversion were identified as the two key business drivers for implementing a waste management plan. Fortunately, the two go hand in hand as the most expensive way to dispose of anything is to send it to landfill. Why would you want to if you had the choice says Sammons.

The waste plan now has provisions for waste to be disposed of through up to 10 different waste streams, each with its own different direction for reuse. Cardboard is recycled, as is plastic wrap, meat waste, bakery and produce are all diverted to the appropriate channels, as are cooking oils, electrical waste and so much more. The process has created whole new markets and jobs out of material the business was previously sending to landfill.

Critical to delivering on an efficient waste management plan was finding the right waste partner. Foodstuffs went through a tender process earlier this year and Envirowaste was successful at becoming the chosen supplier. Envirowaste offer Foodstuffs stores a tailored plan that meets their individual needs and they are committed to carrying out ongoing audits and training. According to Sammons the project has very ambitious targets, with 80% reuse targeted after 12 months and 90% after 24 months for each store.

“Its early days and we know there will be some teething problems with a project of this size and complexity but the first couple of stores on the programme are already hitting 76% and 85% reuse rates respectively. In one case this has meant reducing their landfill from 11 tonnes to 3.6 tonnes a month, a huge achievement,” says Sammons.

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