In a bid to tackle the $20 billion food waste problem in Australia and its commitment to reduce food waste from going to landfill, Woolworths has announced that 100% of its supermarkets now have an active food waste diversion program in place.
From rescuing surplus fresh food and distributing it to hunger relief charity partners, donating stock feed to farmers or sending it for commercial organic composting, all Woolworths supermarkets nationwide now have at least one active food waste diversion partner in place.
With these programs in place, Woolworths has recorded an average year-on-year reduction of 8 per cent in food waste sent to landfill over the past three years.
Woolworths head of sustainability Adrian Cullen said: “Food is meant to be eaten, not thrown – which is why together with our customers, our farmers and our community partners, we’re working to keep good food out of landfill.
“This is not a new journey for us – we’ve been working hard at this for the last decade and we are excited to hit a milestone ahead of World Environment Day that 100% of our stores now with a food waste diversion program in place.
“We heavily invested in our team members to ensure that they have the education, training, resources and equipment to better identify and divert surplus food that can no longer be sold away from landfill and toward the most beneficial stream – be it food rescue for hunger relief, farmer donations for animal feed or commercial composting.”
In the last year, Woolworths has diverted from landfill over 55,000 tonnes of food and enabled over 10 million meals to be delivered to Australians in need across the country.
Adrian Cullen said; “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,
“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. This helps us further reduce and re-purpose bakery and produce waste.”
To date over 750 farmers and community groups from around the country have joined the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program and last year Australian farmers received more than 32,000 tonnes of surplus food from Woolworths that is no longer fit for human consumption.
Owner of Tasmania Zoo Rochelle Penney has been part of the Woolworths Stock Feed for Farmers program since the Zoo opened its doors 15 years ago.
Ms Penney said: “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.
“With over 100 different species of animals, all with variable nutritional needs, the support we receive from Woolies through the Stock Feed for Farmers program is invaluable.
“The program is enriching the lives of our animals and providing them the experience to taste a wide variety of produce.
“Importantly, the savings we make through the program enable us to continue our important conservation and education work which includes breeding programs and caring for a number of critically endangered native and exotic species.”