Green Scene: Jewel-Osco grocery stores striving for zero waste
Zero waste is defined as diverting 90 percent of trash from landfills by recycling and composting. According to John Dunsing, Jewel-Osco’s Environmental Sustainability Manager, 37 Jewel-Osco stores are currently achieving zero waste, with several stores diverting as much as 97 percent of their waste stream.
Jewel was the first major retailer in the Chicagoland area to recycle cardboard and plastic grocery bags. Recently the company has adopted a 100 percent sustainable fishing practice, and rendering programs have been initiated which utilize meat, fat and bone from non-sellable food items to create biodiesel. Jewel’s journey to zero waste has been wide-ranging and extensive, but one final step was necessary to achieve this goal: a food scrap diversion program.
Dunsing, who is based at Jewel’s home office in Itasca, spoke to us about the difficulties he faced in trying to start up a food scrap diversion program at the end of 2010. “Most of the businesses and agencies I contacted initially would not even consider my ideas. They told me it was not possible or cost effective.” Dunsing did not relent and was able to find like-minded people who were able to see his vision and help bring it to reality.
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