Grocery retailer Pick n Pay has launched a net-zero waste pilot project in the Western Cape, which will see expired food being diverted to local farmers, composters or waste-to-energy facilities.
The retailer says the initiative will help reduce the harmful environmental effects of waste disposal while still supporting local agriculture.
The project is being piloted at Pick n Pay Stellenbosch Square. It supplements an existing initiative that sees the retailer donating edible surplus food – which has passed its sell-by but not use-by date – to FoodForward SA, a food bank that feeds more than 2 700 beneficiary organisations.
In a statement on Wednesday, the retailer said it has teamed up with one of its suppliers, Farmer Angus, in a partnership that will see it diverting over 600kg of food waste from landfills weekly.
“Food waste is a significant contributor to carbon emissions. The partnership with Farmer Angus will see the nearby store’s expired food waste diverted from landfills to Farmer Angus’s pigs, effectively turning waste into a valuable resource for farmers,” says Pick n Pay sustainability manager Steffen Burrows.
“We are repurposing organic waste as animal feed, effectively closing the loop on waste generation and consumption. What brings this project even more full circle is that we stock Farmer Angus’s products on our shelves.”
A piggy feast
According to the retailer, food sorting is done by Pick n Pay staff, who separate food and organic waste from general waste and recyclables.
Once sorted, all food except pork products is directed to Angus Farm.
“The pigs are delighted with their new varied diet, which varies from fruit and vegetables to expired doughnuts,” says owner Angus McIntosh.ADVERTISEMENTCONTINUE READING BELOW
“Not only do the pigs that eat the food waste become cured meat sold in Pick n Pay stores, but expired food is no longer going to landfill, which means that no methane will be discharged into the atmosphere from the food waste. Methane has 25 times the global warming potential of CO2,” he adds.
The initiative forms part of the retailer’s sustainability strategy – it has set its sights on reducing food waste by 50% come 2030. Additionally, Burrows notes that apart from supporting its sustainability goals, the project will support a new era of conscious consumption by shoppers.
“This pilot transcends carbon footprint reduction. This brings a new era of conscious consumerism, environmental stewardship, and community collaboration,” he says. “By collaborating with Farmer Angus on this pilot, we are aligning our efforts to magnify the positive impact we can make on the environment.”