Why Cingari Family ShopRite is turning its food waste into energy

Read the full story at Grocery Dive.

At a time when the grocery industry is pressed to tackle its food waste problems, the Cingari Family Markets under the ShopRite banner in Connecticut has turned to an innovative solution through local partnerships.

The 12-store chain, which is part of the Wakefern Cooperative, is composting about 100 tons of organic material per month — roughly the weight of a 767 Jumbo Jet, Dominick Cingari, the grocer’s sustainability expert and fourth-generation member of the grocery company, said in an interview. That material is then converted into energy that powers homes and businesses across Connecticut. 

Lunds & Byerlys turns to AI and computer vision to reduce food waste

Read the full story at Grocery Dive.

Twin Cities grocer Lunds & Byerlys has partnered with Phood Solutions, a food waste technology company, in an effort to reduce annual food waste by an anticipated 150,000 pounds, according to an emailed Tuesday press release.

The grocer is looking to minimize food waste at its deli food bars by using Phood’s scale, computer vision and artificial intelligence as well as reporting to make necessary adjustments to its daily offerings. 

Lunds & Byerlys’ initiative is coming at a time when food waste is becoming a more prominent concern in the grocery industry and particularly playing a prominent role in sustainability efforts. 

5 expensive energy mistakes grocers are making

Read the full story at Grocery Dive.

Food retailers can save roughly $15,000 annually per store by improving five overlooked practices, according to Ratio Institute, a nonprofit specializing in grocery sustainability.

As grocers spotlight sustainability, financial analysts don’t see the connection with the bottom line

Read the full story at Grocery Dive.

This story is the first in a three-part series on how sustainability ties into grocers’ bottom lines.

Kroger has poured hundreds of millions of dollars into its Zero Hunger, Zero Waste sustainability initiative, yet when the supermarket company’s leaders answer questions from industry analysts about its financial results, the expansive environment-focused program doesn’t typically come up.

Top managers of other publicly traded food retailers that also highlight their sustainability programs, such as Ahold Delhaize and Sprouts Farmers Market, also don’t often field questions during earnings calls about their Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives, even as metrics like same-store sales and earnings per share are top topics of discussion.

Phasing out HFC refrigerants poses a major cost dilemma for grocers

Read the full story at Grocery Dive.

Transitioning to new cooling systems that comply with federal and state laws can cost retailers $1 million or more per store. But delaying action could also be expensive, experts say.

Bold Reuse launches retail glass packaging reuse pilot

Read the full story at Packaging Dive.

Bold Reuse has launched a closed-loop system pilot program for glass retail packaging in Portland, Oregon, the company detailed in an announcement Friday. The effort has funding from an $87,000 grant from Metro, the regional government agency for the Portland metropolitan area.

Shoppers at local grocery chain New Seasons Market who buy glass-packaged products from five initial participating brands can return those bottles and jars to the stores after use. Bold Reuse will then handle collection, washing and sanitizing before redistributing the containers to vendors.

The program will run through the end of 2023, at which time organizers will evaluate data like return rates and how many jars were fit for reuse, said Bold Reuse Customer Success Manager Kelsey Azoubel Mitchell. “Ideally at the end of the year, what we’ll have is a blueprint for scalability and for replication, either in other cities or in different locations,” Mitchell said.

What’s all the fuss about PFAS in refrigerants?

Read the full story at Air Conditioning, Heating, and Refrigeration News.

The latest refrigerant transition is well underway, with the 10% cut in the production of HFC refrigerants that went into effect last year. A much steeper cut happens next year, when production of HFCs must be reduced to 60% of the baseline established by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There is no question that this stepdown will be a challenge for the HVACR industry.

As most know, these production cuts are a result of the AIM Act, which became law in December 2020. Under this legislation, Congress gave the EPA the authority to phase down the consumption and production of high-GWP HFC refrigerants in the U.S. by 85% over the next 15 years. Unlike the last refrigerant transition, in which HCFCs such as R-22 were phased out due to their ODP, this transition is due to the fact that HFCs such as R-410A and R-404A are considered to be contributing to global warming.

In addition to ODP and GWP, however, there are growing concerns about some of the chemicals used in certain synthetic refrigerants. For example, PFAS (Per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) are a group of man-made chemicals that have been used in many consumer products, including nonstick cookware, clothing, and furniture since the 1940s. They are highly resistant to heat, water, and oil, making them useful for a variety of applications, including refrigerants used in air conditioning and refrigeration equipment. However, their ubiquitous presence in water, soil, and air samples has raised concerns about their potential impacts on human health and the environment.

How supermarket freezers are heating the planet, and how they could change

Read the full story from the CBC.

Climate-conscious shoppers may buy local food and try to cut packaging waste, but those efforts could be negated by potent greenhouse gases leaking from supermarket fridges.

Refrigerants called hydrofluorocarbons or HFCs are widely used to keep food cold or frozen at grocery stores and during transport. (They’re also used for other refrigeration applications, like ice rinks and air conditioners).

They were originally brought in to replace ozone-depleting refrigerants called chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs), which were banned in a landmark 1987 agreement called the Montreal Protocol, in order to save the Earth’s protective ozone layer.

But HFCs are themselves powerful greenhouse gases.

Typically, each tonne of HFCs can trap as much heat in the atmosphere as 1,400 to 4,000 tonnes of carbon dioxide over 100 years, depending on the type of HFC.

Here’s a look at why that’s happening, what the solutions are, and how ordinary shoppers could make a difference.

Groundbreaking Refrigerant Carbon Credit™ Pilot Program rewards grocers for climate-friendly refrigerant choices

Read the full story from the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council.

Therm, North America’s leading refrigerant carbon offset developer, has announced the successful sale and retirement of its issuance of Refrigerant Carbon Credits™ from the North American Sustainable Refrigeration Council Pilot Program. Carbon financing allows grocery retailers and other foodservice providers to switch to climate-friendly refrigerants at lower capital costs by selling the credits created by the projects through the voluntary carbon market. These projects’ Refrigerant Carbon Credits sold at a significant premium to the current rate of similar credits. Projects included refrigeration rack replacements to CO2 as well as micro-distributed and stand-alone cases.

The credits were issued by the American Carbon Registry and purchased and retired by longtime voluntary carbon market experts Climate Impact Partners on behalf of an established market participant.

The Whole Foods Plastic Problem: A Survey on Single-Use Packaging at the Grocery Store

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Whole Foods has built its brand on a commitment to sustainability and environmentally responsible retail. Its customers shop at its stores because they share that commitment, and they expect the products on the shelves to reflect those values. One value those customers increasingly share is a desire to reduce the amount of plastic in their lives. But the reality is that Whole Foods is often making it harder, rather than easier, for them to do that. 

In 2022, U.S. PIRG Education Fund and Environment America Research & Policy Center conducted a survey of the packaging options of Whole Foods 365 brand products in 27 stores across the country to assess consumers’ options for avoiding plastic when shopping at Whole Foods. We found that despite the company’s efforts to reduce plastic use, customers have limited opportunities to purchase 365 brand items without plastic packaging, with fewer than 50% of the products surveyed available in plastic-free packaging in the majority of Whole Foods stores.

Whole Foods can do more and do better to reflect its customers’ values and re-establish itself as a leader in environmentally responsible retail.