New Seasons releases impact report

New Seasons Market released its sustainability report Wednesday.

New Seasons Market released its sustainability report Wednesday.

New Seasons Market, Portland's homegrown 12-store grocery chain, reduced its landfill-bound waste by 15 percent in the last year, according to its annual sustainability report released Wednesday.

The infographic-driven report highlights the company's regional impact including its donation of 1,040 tons of food to community sources in 2011. The stores also collectively composted 4.8 million pounds of food waste.

New Seasons focused on waste through its participation in the Environmental Protection Agency's Food Waste Recovery Challenge. Through that program, New Seasons has been designated as an EPA WasteWise Endorser, charged with educating others about best practices concerning waste reduction.

"Sending trash to a landfill is unsustainable," said Heather Schmidt, New Season Market's sustainability manager, in a press release. "The key is to prevent waste."

Schmidt said the grocery store company has reduced its landfill waste by about 50 percent in the last five years in part through shifting employees thinking.

"What had traditionally been considered waste actually has tremendous worth," Schmidt said. "Shifting our paradigm from waste to worth reveals the true value in the resources and the costs that are embedded in our waste, providing a model in which prevention and recovery are possible and successful."

For example the company has recycled 2,929 gallons of used cooking oil into biodiesel.

Other fun facts from the report include:

  • Stores gave 3.1 million bag refunds to customers bringing in their own reusable grocery bags.
  • Some 35 percent of surveyed customers said they arrived at the store using an alternative form of transportation.
  • No New Seasons Employee makes less than $10 per hour, a step above the state minimum wage of $8.80.

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