Top tips for grocery operators

Reduce

Consider promotion campaigns for misshapen fruits and vegetables – WRAP UK

There is no substitute for measuring waste, and understanding how it arises. Find your waste hotspots and apply lean tools. Also look to WRAP UK

Optimizing packaging reduces packaging and product waste. Also look to WRAP UK

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Metro Vancouver recently assessed the region’s waste and approximately 13,000 tonnes of edible, healthy food is thrown away every year.

The Food Donor Encouragement Act encourages people and corporations to donate good food with good intentions, and was written to protect them from liability.

Best before, packaged on, and expiration dates.

  • Only items marked with expiration dates (found on baby formula, nutritional supplements and meal replacements only) cannot be consumed past the date.
  • All other dates (e.g. Best Before, Sell By) are for freshness, quality, appearance or information.
  • Canadian Food Inspection Agency sets this policy.

It is important to stress that healthy food is desired; not unhealthy food. Often the receiving organization takes on the cost of discarding unhealthy food (for example expired baby formula, damaged packaging, low nutrient snacks, stale bread etc).

NEW Industry Food Donation Guidelines now available on the BC Centre for Disease Control (BCCDC) website here:  (click the “Donation Guidelines” tab and scroll to “Industry Food Donation Guidelines”)

The BC Centre for Disease Control (the Provincial authority on donating food), in partnership with the Greater Vancouver Food Bank, Food Banks BC and Metro Vancouver, published the Industry Food Donation Guidelines to encourage donations of safe, healthy food to local food banks and charities. The Guidelines help business owners, managers or other decision makers answer these questions:

  • Why donate food?
  • How to start and manage a food donation program? – step by step guide
  • What foods are suitable for donation?
  • What about risk and liability?

Are you a grocer with a great tip for others?


  • Organics Disposal Ban
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Recycle

Metro Vancouver met with numerous large grocery stores across the region. Their top tip to managing waste in-store? Lock all commercial bins, give management the keys, and ensure only non-recyclable materials reach the garbage.

All food is included in the Organics Disposal Ban. This includes dry goods, frozen, packaged food, dairy, deli, prepared, plate scrapings, in-store cafés, floral etc.

Increase organics collection services during hot weather to manage for odours.

Businesses need to manage their organics collection bins in order to reduce nuisances such as pests and odour.

Let your hauler know you want to recycle all that you can. There is a price differential, with lower tipping fees for separated, compostable loads than for mixed garbage. Some types of waxed cardboard and compostable food-soiled paper can be included in organics collection services – confirm with your hauler.

Seeing consistent recycling signage whether at work, school, or a common recycling room, helps staff and customers quickly sort their recycling, reduces contamination and increases recycling rates.

Plastics, including those marked biodegradable, and similar items contaminate compost and reduce its value - keep them out of the green bin. Common contaminants include: plastic wrap and bags, elastics, twist ties, straws, swizzle sticks, plastic cutlery and glass.