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Podcast Recap: Key Takeaways from Wegmans’ Jason Wadsworth

Podcast review: Wegmans' Jason Wadsworth. The key points of

. Town Haul Podcast | Episode 8

Moderator: Amy Koonin (Rubicon) Guest: Jason Wadsworth (Wegmans Sustainability Manager) Listen here on iTunes

Wegmans can be said to be the most popular supermarket chain ever. It is the second-ranked company in Fortune magazine in 2018. It is the top grocery store of Consumer Reports 2017. Its products even appeared in The Office.

In addition to having an avid following, Wegmans has also made exemplary commitments to sustainable practices. Amy Koonin of The Town Haul and Wegmans' Sustainability Manager Jason Wadsworth talked about the supermarket’s corporate culture, zero-waste efforts and Wegmans’ popular bars.

About Wegmans' sustainability management:

WADSWORTH: "As early as 2007, when I started sustainable development for Wegmans, it was a very new concept. Before that, it was called environmental recycling; reduced recycling and reuse. These were in the late 1980s, A term abandoned in the early 1990s, so when sustainability emerged, it was actually educating what sustainability is and learning what we are already doing at Wegmans that are considered sustainable business practices.

We put forward a mission statement about reducing emissions, figuring out our current footprint, reducing landfills, and providing our customers with sustainable packaging and product choices. This is indeed the focus of our efforts for the past 11 years. "

Regarding how Wegmans decided to achieve the goal of zero waste:

WADSWORTH: "You won't get there overnight. It's a journey, you have to break it down again, break it down and manage a little bit. For Wegmans, our executives posed a challenge.

Let's try our best to open a store on the road of zero waste. Like everything we are talking about here, measurement is the key. This is where Rubicon really helps us take measurements.

We started to propose a benchmark for the test store we will be piloting. Their transfer rate is about 62%. For people outside, the transfer rate is calculated by measuring what you recycle and what you throw away. Then we came up with a plan to try to solve the most influential things. "

Misunderstandings about paper bags and plastic bags:

WADSWORTH: "We firmly believe that using reusable bags is the best way to reduce plastic use, but I think plastic bags have a bad reputation, and I think it’s a pun. Science shows that recycling plastic bags is actually a best practice . You can use your reusable, which is the best, if you recycle it is the second best plastic, actually paper is the least popular choice in the environment. Paper is heavy, you have to cut down trees To do this, more trucks are needed to transport the same amount of paper as plastic.

There is an environmental story there that most people did not expect that papermaking is very dirty. You use a lot of chemicals in the water, discharge the water, and it lasts forever. Using plastic, as long as you recycle it, is an environmentally friendly practice.

What we do at Wegmans is to collect plastic bags from all customers, combine them with the plastic bags we collect from shrink wrap bags, grocery bags, etc. at the back of the store, and then we use these plastic bags to make brand new bags. That kind of material. Each of our plastic bags contains 40% post-consumer recycled content, these are our things. "

On how Wegmans walked the tightrope between sustainability and affordable prices:

WADSWORTH: "This came up very early when we talked about sustainability. We really cultivated this mentality: it's good for the environment, for our employees and customers, it's good for our business, and there is something in between. A sweet spot.

We are always looking for innovation. We have been paying attention to the cost of innovation, and sometimes we will take longer to study. Food waste in particular is a way for us to cooperate with local food waste movers. This is an unprecedented way for us to help them compete with landfills.

We are still building infrastructure and ensuring that there are food waste transporters and processors in our environmental areas so that we can do the right things with food waste, which puts us on the road to zero waste. "

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