Woolworths steps up fight against food waste

Woolworths has announced that all of its supermarkets now have an active food waste diversion program in place.

It has reached this milestone as part of what it calls its “bid to tackle the $20 billion food-waste problem in Australia and its commitment to reduce food waste from going to landfill”.

Every single Woolworths supermarket in Australia now has at least one active food waste diversion partner, the retailer says. Activities include:

  • Rescuing surplus fresh food and distributing it to hunger-relief charity partners
  • Donating stock feed to farmers
  • Sending stock for commercial organic composting.

World Environment Day

Through these programs, Woolworths claims to have recorded an average year-on-year reduction of eight per cent in food waste to landfill over the past three years.

Woolworths Head of Sustainability Adrian Cullen said: “This is not a new journey for us. We’ve been working hard at this for the past decade. We’re excited to hit a milestone ahead of World Environment Day that 100 per cent of our stores now have a food-waste diversion program in place.

In the past year, Woolworths has diverted more than 55,000 tonnes of food from landfill. It has also enabled the delivery of more than 10 million meals to Australians in need, it claims.

“Working with our partners OzHarvest, Foodbank and Fareshare to feed Australian’s who would otherwise go hungry is our number one priority when it comes to diverting food from our stores,” Mr Cullen said.

“We then work with local farmers so that surplus food, which cannot go to hunger relief, is used as stock feed for animals or for on-farm composting.”

Taking stock

More than 750 farmers and community groups from around the country have joined the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program. Last year, says Woolworths, it supplied Australian farmers with more than 32,000 tonnes of surplus food.

Owner of Tasmania Zoo Rochelle Penney has been part of the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program for 15 years.

“Our team collects several bins of unsold surplus fruit, vegetables and bakery products that are no longer suitable for sale, every day from our local Woolworths stores to supplement feed for our animals,” she said.

“Importantly, the savings we make through the program enable us to continue our important conservation and education work. This includes breeding programs and caring for a number of critically endangered native and exotic species.”

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