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Supervalu Zero Waste Program Saved $3.4M in Haul-Away Costs, Earned $36M Recycling Income

Grocery retailer and supplier Supervalu aims to divert 90 percent or more of waste at 250 store locations by February 2013, as part of an expansion of its environmental sustainability program. The end goal is to achieve zero waste throughout its network of about 4,300 stores, the company said.

Supervalu said it transitioned 54 stores to 90 percent waste diversion in the past year, beating its original target of 40 locations. It now has more than 300 zero-waste locations.

The return on the program, the grocery retailer said, has been a $3.4 million reduction in garbage expenses and a recycling income that topped $36 million last year.

Other achievements in 2011 include a 28,000 tons reduction in landfill waste versus 2010; a 98 percent increase in mixed paper recycling; a 55 percent increase in hard plastic recycling; and a 293 percent increase in the number of stores composting or diverting organic material.

The company’s strategy for sustainable store operations includes a program to donate food through Fresh Rescue. Supervalu said it has distributed more than 54 million pounds of food through this network to communities in the past year.

So far, the majority of efforts around waste diversion have been focused in the company’s Albertsons stores. The program has expanded to Jewel-Osco and Shaw’s, and additional brands will participate this year, the company said.

Supervalu operates under nine national retail brands including Acme, Albertsons, Cub Foods, Farm Fresh, Hornbacher’s, Jewel-Osco, Shaw’s/Star Market, Shop ‘n Save and Shoppers Food & Pharmacy.

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