Albertsons Companies Celebrates America Recycles Day
America Recycles Day is annually observed on November 15th to inspire Americans to recycle and buy recycled products. The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates $9 billion worth of materials are sent to the landfill each year. Whether its metal, plastic, glass, electronics or paper, these materials consume a vast amount of resources during the extraction, manufacturing and transportation process. Recycling and upcycling, the process of converting waste into a material or product of higher quality, conserves natural resources and diverts waste from the landfill. Recycling also helps create jobs and supports local economies. According to the EPA, nationwide recycling and reuse activities account for 757,000 jobs and $36.6 billion in wages in a single year.
Recycling in our Facilities
At Albertsons Companies, our stores, manufacturing plants and distribution centers observe America Recycles Day every day. For example, our distribution center in Auburn, Washington purchased a Styrofoam densifying machine last year. The machine crushes and melts Styrofoam into sizes that can be easily transported. We sell these ingots to a third-party company that uses it to create picture frames. Through this closed-loop process, we keep 50,000 lbs. of Styrofoam away from the landfill.
We’re honored to receive the 2017 Business Generator Recycle of the Year Award from the Washington State Recycling Association for our Styrofoam recycling and other waste diversion practices.
In addition to our recycling efforts, we’ve committed to divert over 90% of manufacturing facility and distribution center waste from the landfill by the year 2022. Progress towards reducing our waste in 2017 included:
- Recycled over 545 million lbs. of cardboard at our facilities, the equivalent of saving approximately 1.5 million trees.
- More than 12 million reusable pallets flowed through our manufacturing plants and distribution centers to our retail locations. This enabled us to reduce over 6.7 million lbs. of solid waste and prevented 5.1 million lbs. of greenhouse gases from entering the atmosphere.
- Recovered and reused electronic waste through restoration and redeployment, where feasible. Our complete lifecycle service center recovered 1.8 million lbs. of electronic waste.
- Partnered with Trex Company, a manufacturer of composite lumber that is commonly used for decking, railings and other commercial purposes, to upcycle nearly 24 million lbs. of plastic film to create more than 24,000 composite decks.
Recyclability of our Products
We design our products with their full lifecycle in mind. For example, our O Organics coffee pods are now compostable and some whole bean products are available in reusable cardboard composite cans. We’re also excited to offer reusable bags at stores across the country. Our partners at Roplast Industries manufacture reusable bags for some of our stores that are made of 65% recycled materials and a minimum of 40% post-consumer resin (PCR). These durable bags are designed for at least 125 uses and can be machine or hand washed with cold water and disinfected after use.
Roplast bags have two inputs – PCR and industrial resin. PCR is the plastic consumers have used and recycled. Our operations divert used plastic that Roplast incorporates in their manufacturing process. We’re proud to support a local sustainable business that’s pioneering closed-loop systems for reusable plastic bags.
We have an ongoing commitment to reduce food waste. We’re focused on increasing diversion of food waste away from landfills to better uses, such as feeding hungry people, feeding livestock and composting.
Take a pledge to reuse and recycle this America Recycles Day and don’t forget to carry your reusable bag on your next shopping trip.
To learn more about our sustainability initiatives, click here to read our 2018 Annual Sustainability Update.