Wegmans encourages customers to properly recycle plastic bags in honor of America Recycles Day

Rochester, N.Y., 2017-Nov-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — In honor of America Recycles Day, Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is encouraging customers to properly recycle plastic bags to prevent them from polluting our waterways, getting tangled in trees and bushes, or ending up in a landfill.

There’s no denying plastic bags are useful, convenient and offer benefits for consumers and retailers alike. While more environmentally friendly than their paper counterparts, the biggest problem with plastic bags is improper disposal.

A recent survey conducted by Wegmans showed many consumers are unfamiliar with the proper way to recycle plastic bags. According to the survey, 13 percent of respondents are currently placing plastic bags in curbside recycling bins, and 45 percent were unaware that plastic bags need to be returned to a retailer or collection facility to be properly recycled.

Don’t “Curb” Your Plastic Bags
You might think all recyclable material can go in your curbside bin, but most recycling centers across the country do not accept plastic bags or other plastic wraps and films. The reason – recycling centers use high-speed mechanized sorting lines to separate paper and plastic efficiently. Plastic bags and films get caught in the machinery, causing slowdowns, and at times, bringing the entire system to a halt. For that reason, the bags and plastic films end up in landfills.

Recycle Plastic at Wegmans
Wegmans has offered plastic recycling receptacles at its stores since 1994. Customers can use these receptacles for recycling clean, dry, flexible plastic (#2 and #4), including all retailers’ plastic shopping bags, bread bags, plastic outer wraps, produce bags, and cereal box liners, to name a few. Wegmans uses the collected plastic to make new bags made from 40 percent post-consumer recycled material.

Plastic Bag Alternatives
“We know from experience we can reduce the use of single-use plastic bags by promoting reusable bags,” said Jason Wadsworth, manager of sustainability for Wegmans. “If each customer used just one reusable bag on each shopping trip, Wegmans would use 330 million fewer plastic bags each year.”

“We also know people forget their bags, or make unplanned stops at the grocery store,” continued Wadsworth. “That’s why it’s important to educate customers on the next-best option and the importance of reusing or properly recycling their plastic bags.”

Almost half of the plastic bags and film by weight used by Wegmans customers are returned for recycling. In honor of America Recycles Day, join the effort to keep that rate growing, and take small steps all year long to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 95-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 20 consecutive years, ranking #2 in 2017.

Press Contact:

Tracy Van Auker
Media Relations Coordinator
585-429-3826
tracy.vanauker@wegmans.com

Source: Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

Sly Fox’s Circle of Progress Pale Ale from barley malt composted with Wegmans food scraps to be featured at select Wegmans Pubs

Starting on Earth Day, April 22, select Wegmans Pub locations will feature Sly Fox’s Circle of Progress Pale Ale – a sustainable, special-edition, small-batch brew made from barley malt composted with Wegmans food scraps.
(Photo Credit: Gail K Foley)

Partnership with Pennsylvania Farm turns food scraps from Wegmans into compost that is used to grow the barley for Sly Fox’s Circle of Progress Pale Ale

Rochester, NEW YORK, 2017-Apr-19 — /EPR Retail News/ — Starting on Earth Day, April 22, select Wegmans Pub locations will feature Sly Fox’s Circle of Progress Pale Ale – a sustainable, special-edition, small-batch brew made from barley malt composted with Wegmans food scraps. Aptly named Circle of Progress as a play on the idea of closed-loop sustainability, the beer tells a tale of sustainable business practices and “keeping it local” that businesses and consumers can feel good about. The current batch of Circle of Progress has truly come full circle, with its story starting and ending at Wegmans Food Markets.

Where there are large amounts of food preparation, there are large amounts of food scraps – but that doesn’t have to equate to food waste. Wegmans Food Markets is committed to finding innovative ways to recycle, such as partnering with local organizations and farmers to turn food scraps into something useful, like the compost used to “grow” your next pint of beer.

Currently, 75 Wegmans stores have programs in place that divert food scraps from landfills by offering them as feed for local livestock, or sending them for composting or anaerobic digestion. In Pennsylvania, Wegmans partners with Ned Foley at Two Particular Acres, a 35-acre farm in Montgomery County to make use of the food scraps from nine of its stores, totaling nearly 3 million pounds in 2016. Foley takes those and other food scraps and turns them into compost for fertilizing his crops, including barley.

“The real advantage of partnerships like the one we have with Ned is that the benefits are broadly shared,” said Jason Wadsworth, manager of sustainability for Wegmans. “The process is easier, safer and more efficient for our people. It helps to reduce carbon emissions generated by landfills, helps local farmers achieve sustainability goals, and creates new ways of doing business.”

Two years ago, Foley, a craft beer enthusiast, was looking for an outlet to get his barley malted when Tim Ohst from Sly Fox Brewing Company introduced him to Alan Gladish at Double Eagle Malt, a micro-malting operation in Huntingdon Valley, Pennsylvania. An instant match, Foley and Gladish began collaborating, which sparked an idea for Ohst and Foley – crafting a beer that uses only local malt. And Circle of Progress was born. The current limited batch will be exclusively available on tap at select Wegmans Pub and Burger Bar locations in Pennsylvania, Northern Virginia and New York, but once it’s gone, it’s gone.

Who grows your pint?

Foley and his wife began farming 15 years ago, and early on, with an aversion to using chemicals, adopted composting. Over the years, composting became a strong focus of their farming operation, ultimately leading to the creation of a commercial composting company to service customers, like Wegmans, that recognize the value of composting food scraps and organic residuals. The barley, and all the crops at Two Particular Acres, are raised using organic methods, which means no chemical fertilizer, herbicide, or insecticides are used.

Foley is particularly proud and excited of what his partnership with Double Eagle and Sly Fox is doing for the local craft beer scene, exhibited by the sign on the edge of his barley fields that reads, “Who Grows Your Pint?” While part of craft beer’s appeal for many enthusiasts is that it’s locally brewed, it’s not often that the barley, arguably the main and most important ingredient in a brew, comes from a farm just 10 miles down the road from the brewery.

“Growing barley for craft brewers is our way of helping the larger community understand the real value of composting and organic diversion,” said Foley. “Sly Fox, Double Eagle Malt and Wegmans all understand the value to the community and we are extremely proud to partner with each of them to ‘spread the gospel’ of compost, one pint at a time.”

What exactly does compost, one pint at a time, look like? The barley used for each pint of Circle of Progress was grown using just over three pounds of compost. That’s three pounds of material that would have gone to the landfill, but instead was put to good use making the soil healthier to produce delicious craft beer.

Because the beer only uses barley grown at Two Particular Acres, the batch size is limited, which means the team isn’t yet to the point where they can bottle the beer to make it available in the very grocery stores Foley collects food scraps from. While they hope to do that someday, Foley and his partners are a step closer than ever with the beer returning to Wegmans for sale in its restaurants, giving customers the ability to confidently say, “Ned Foley grew my pint.”

The Pub
Virginia
– Alexandria
Pennsylvania
– Allentown, Collegeville, Concordville, King of Prussia, Malvern, Montgomeryville
New York
– Perinton, Transit Road

The Burger Bar
New York
– Pittsford and Canandaigua

SOURCE: Wegmans Food Markets

Press Contact:

Tracy Van Auker
Media Relations Coordinator
585-429-3826
tracy.vanauker@wegmans.com

Packaging Innovation Part of Wegman’s commitment to Sustainability

Packaging Innovation Part of Wegman’s commitment to Sustainability

 

Rochester, NEW YORK, 2017-Apr-17 — /EPR Retail News/ — With 92 stores across six states, each offering a minimum of 50,000 products, Wegmans Food Markets customers might not immediately equate the notion of “less is more” with Wegmans. But, when it comes to sustainability and the company’s commitment to reduce waste in landfills and reduce emissions, less truly is more. Packaging innovation is just one example of how the company is delivering on that commitment.

“It’s always important to remember that a food container’s number one job is to protect the food inside. It takes resources to grow that food, and fuel to bring it from the farm to the store, so we want to preserve nature’s investment in this food with containers that protect it all the way to your table,” said Jason Wadsworth, manager of sustainability for Wegmans. “Our job is to make sure packaging is functional, performs as expected, and uses materials efficiently and responsibly. That leaves plenty of opportunity for exploring ways to make packaging more sustainable.”

To improve the sustainability of its packaging, Wegmans is focused on reducing the amount of virgin materials – new plastic or paper made from non-renewable fossil fuels – and replacing it with mineral fillers, and renewable and recycled materials. Wegmans is also committed to avoiding excess packaging, and removing Bisphenol A (BPA) and other potentially harmful materials, such as Polystyrene and PVC where possible and where alternatives exist.

“As often happens with sustainability initiatives, the changes we’re implementing and the progress we’re making aren’t always easy to see,” explained Wadsworth. “For some of the sustainable packages we’ve introduced, the change has been very apparent to customers, while for others, they’d never know unless we told them.”

Wondering where you can find these sustainable packaging solutions at Wegmans? The short answer is, throughout the store.

Packaging innovations using less plastic:

  • Wegmans recently introduced a new produce bag made from 100 percent plant-based renewable materials, not fossil fuels. During the manufacturing process, the use of plant-based materials means less CO2 is emitted, and unlike other renewable plastics, the new produce bags can be recycled in the same way as traditional plastic bags, by placing them in the plastic recycling depositories located in the vestibules of each Wegmans.
  • Wegmans Organic Beef vacuum-sealed packaging is currently made from 50% plant-based renewable material, not fossil fuels and will be going to 70% plant-based this year.
  • By switching to a bag from the plastic domes, each rotisserie chicken pouch uses 75 percent less plastic. In addition to being better for the environment, the bags offer an easy-carry handle, re-sealable zipper, and are leak resistant, microwave safe, and easy to store.
  • In the Market Café, the self-serve food bar containers use 40 percent less plastic, as do the Choose Your Meal and pre-packaged Asian bowl containers in Prepared Foods.

Packaging innovations using recycled content:

  • Wegmans’ front-end plastic bags contain 40 percent post-consumer recycled content, all of which is generated by customers returning their plastic bags to the store. In 2016, Wegmans’ recycling rate for plastic bags averaged around 50 percent.
  • Various plastic trays and containers are made from recycled plastic, such as our fresh-cut veggie trays, made from 50 percent recycled plastic material.
  • The paper “boats” used for product samples and the donut and cake boxes contain 100 percent recycled content.

Since 2015, Wegmans has saved over 6 million pounds of virgin plastic resin by using mineral fillers, renewable materials, and adding recycled material into its packaging. This combined plastic savings equates to 150 truckloads worth of packaging the company didn’t use.

When evaluating opportunities for improved packaging, Wegmans also looks for ways to shrink the carbon footprint involved in bringing food to customers. That’s why last fall, Wegmans converted its Food You Feel Good About Pasta Sauce from a glass jar to a lighter weight #1 PET plastic. Because the weight of an item plays a role in how many trucks are needed for shipment, Wegmans saw an opportunity to reduce the impact of transportation on the environment if the packaging of a high-volume item like pasta sauce could be made lighter, without sacrificing quality or safety.

“By switching from glass to PET jars,” said Wadsworth, “the same amount of pasta sauce can be shipped each year using 55 fewer trucks. That change can save 974 gallons of diesel fuel, cutting carbon dioxide emissions – the equivalent of driving around the Earth once in an average passenger vehicle.”

Although the glass jars were recyclable, PET plastic jars are more widely recycled, and are much less likely to break if dropped, minimizing food waste, another key reason Wegmans continues to look for ways to innovate in packaging.

Wegmans sees plenty of opportunity to continue reducing its reliance on virgin plastic and paper, not just for packaging, but in other areas of the store as well. In the Market Café, the plastic utensils are now made of 30 percent plant-based materials and are dispensed one at a time for a 30 percent reduction in waste, while the napkins are made with 100 percent recycled content. In its new stores, Wegmans is reducing the number of paper towels being used by introducing hand dryers in its restrooms.

“We’re very happy with the progress we’ve made over the last couple years, and we plan to keep the momentum going,” commented Wadsworth. “Our 2017 goal is to reduce another half million pounds of packaging material by focusing on recycled content and renewable materials.”

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is a 92-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, recognized as an industry leader and innovator, celebrated its 100th anniversary in 2016. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 20 consecutive years, ranking #2 in 2017.

Press Contact:
Tracy Van Auker
Media Relations Coordinator
585-429-3826
tracy.vanauker@wegmans.com

Source: Wegmans Food Markets, Inc.

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The Nature Conservancy and Wegmans Food Markets celebrate Earth Day all month long with an April 2015 initiative designed to protect lands and waters

ROCHESTER, NY, 2015-4-1 — /EPR Retail News/ — Want to help nature? There’s a bag for that! Once again, The Nature Conservancy and Wegmans Food Markets are celebrating Earth Day all month long with an April 2015 initiative designed to encourage more sustainable behaviors and raise funds for protecting lands and waters.

Last year, Wegmans and The Nature Conservancy worked together on a recycling initiative in honor of Earth Day that succeeded in recycling 220,000 pounds of plastic bags and film—25 percent more than what was recycled at Wegmans stores in April the year prior.

This April, we’re taking it one step further, encouraging use of reusable bags as the best choice for the environment over plastic or paper. To show commitment to caring for nature on multiple levels, Wegmans will contribute 25¢ to The Nature Conservancy for every pound of paper and plastic bags saved, with a minimum contribution of $10,000.

Pounds saved will be calculated based on pounds of plastic and paper bags used in April 2015 compared with pounds of plastic and paper used in April 2014. Funds raised will support The Nature Conservancy’s conservation work in Central and Western New York, where Wegmans is headquartered.

”By each of us taking little steps every day, we can have tremendous positive impact on our environment,” said Jason Wadsworth, Wegmans manager of sustainability. “Breaking old habits and creating new ones is hard, which is why we are once again working with The Nature Conservancy this April to raise awareness about this issue and to reward our customers’ efforts to do the right thing.”

“The health of our lands, waters and communities depends upon responsible actions and good stewardship,” said Jim Howe, The Nature Conservancy’s chapter director in Central & Western New York. “Support from Wegmans is unique because it helps the environment twice—by encouraging an everyday action that helps preserve resources, while also providing essential funds for local conservation. We are thrilled to once again work with Wegmans, its employees and customers to protect and restore important places.”

The goal is to inspire people by showing them that small personal choices―like using reusable bags―can make a big impact for local communities and the environment at large. Globally, plastic and paper bags have a significant ecological impact. Their production, transportation and disposal contribute to climate change, and bags can pollute rivers, beaches and parks if they are not recycled properly. Wegmans has a well-established year-round program for recycling bags, but would like to see more of its customers converting to reusables as the most sustainable option.

“We’re optimistic that together we can significantly reduce the amount of bags we use and generate an exciting contribution for conservation,” said Wadsworth. “This initiative is a great way for our people and customers to celebrate Earth Day, and help take action in their community to create a healthier and more sustainable world all year long.”

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The Nature Conservancy is a leading conservation organization working around the world to conserve the lands and waters on which all life depends. The Conservancy and its more than 1 million members have protected nearly 120 million acres worldwide. Visit The Nature Conservancy on the Web at www.nature.org.

Wegmans Food Markets, Inc. is an 85-store supermarket chain with stores in New York, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, and Massachusetts. The family-owned company, founded in 1916, is recognized as an industry leader and innovator. Wegmans has been named one of the ‘100 Best Companies to Work For’ by FORTUNE magazine for 18 consecutive years, ranking #7 in 2015. The company also ranked #1 for Corporate Reputation, among the 100 ‘most-visible companies’ nationwide in the 2014 Harris Poll Reputation Quotient ® study.

Contact Information:  
Kate Frazer, The Nature Conservancy, Central & Western NY communications manager, 339-222-2014
Jo Natale, Wegmans’ vice president of media relations, 585-429-3627