A Chilliwack Food Bank worker unpacks a box of fresh strawberries that was among the six pallets of boxed produce, dairy, baked goods and more that had just arrived from Save-On-Foods. (Jennifer Feinberg/The Progress)

‘Game-changing’ program to combat food waste to expand across B.C.

Three-month pilot project in Chilliwack saw food waste redirected to make an estimated 250,000 meals

The idea is to curb food waste down to nothing — and it’s working.

In the past four months, Chilliwack has been the pilot site for a food-waste diversion project that’s being called a “game-changer.”

Save-On-Foods joined forces with Food Banks BC, FoodMesh, Loop Resource, and charities like Chilliwack Salvation Army to reach the goal of “zero surplus and potentially wasted food” ending up in the waste stream.

A lot has been accomplished.

“Every item they can’t use, we are getting it,” said Don Armstrong, coordinator of the Chilliwack Salvation Army Food Bank, picking up some fresh asparagus and packages of sushi received from Save-On.

READ MORE: University students Dumpster dive to shed light on food waste

Black Press Media stopped by the food bank last week to see how the pilot project was working, as Sally Ann volunteers and staff combed through six pallets of boxed produce, dairy, and baked goods from Save-On-Foods.

Out of a week’s worth of food, they maybe had one garbage bag full they couldn’t put to use.

“The program works fantastic,” said Armstrong, adding they can use about 90 per cent of what they have been getting, and farmers will come by every day to pick up what’s left to feed their livestock.

“People are coming in and they’re loving the stuff that we are able to give them,” said Armstrong. “We’re giving them apples, we’re giving them oranges, bananas, sandwiches, deli meats, roasts, and turkeys.”

The food-waste diversion is now operational in more than half of the 170 Save-On-Foods stores across the province, including all three in Chilliwack, where the pilot has been redirecting food in a consistent, safe, and measurable way.

The grocery chain spent the past year trying to surpass its company-wide goal to reduce food waste by 50 per cent by 2025.

“We have been composting perishable waste where possible for a number of years, but we knew we could do better,” said Darrell Jones, president of Save-On-Foods, in a release.

The idea is to eventually see the initiative rolled out in all Save-On stores across Western Canada.

“With close to 1.5 million metric tonnes valued at close to $6.4 billion dollars of surplus edible food wasted each year in B.C. and close to 100,000 individuals struggling to put food on the table, perishable food recovery with our partner, Save-On-Foods, has been a true game-changer,” said Laura Lansink, executive director of Food Banks BC.

So where is it all heading?

“What we’re hoping is that other grocery stores will see what Save-On-Foods is doing, and get on board, so we can get all this food out of the landfills,” Armstrong said.


@CHWKjourno
jfeinberg@theprogress.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RED resort announces new ski lift

Topping lift will add new ski area to resort, reduce bottleneck on Motherload chair

Update: Bodies recovered from Pend d’Oreille River crash

To help support the family, a fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale

Paramedics union raises alarm over spike in out-of-service ambulances

Staffing shortages affecting service levels in Kootenays

Update: Car located in Pend d’Oreille River, teenagers remain missing

A fundraiser has been set up at Kootenay Savings in Fruitvale to help support the family

LETTER: An uplifting story

From reader Bill Wells

‘Full worm super moon’ to illuminate B.C. skies on first day of spring

Spring has sprung, a moon named in honour of thawing soil marks final super moon until 2020

B.C. lottery winner being sued by Surrey co-workers

They claim he owes them $200,000 each, in a lawsuit filed in B.C. Supreme Court in Vancouver

Fraser Health under fire again for taxiing homeless man from Langley to Hope

Patient sent to Hope shelter because a spot in the man’s home community couldn’t be located

Dead sea lion discovered on Hornby Island shoreline

Reports indicate animal was shot in the head

Celina Caesar-Chavannes quits Liberal caucus, sits as independent MP

The Whitby, Ont., MP has been a vocal supporter of Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott

Woman punched on the sidelines of B.C. soccer game

Both involved were watching the U21 game in West Vancouver from the sidelines when things got heated

Catch-up immunization aims to stamp out B.C. measles resurgence

Vaccination records to be checked at B.C. schools next fall

Paramedic staff shortage at critical level: B.C. union

A number of units were out of service due to lack of staffing in Lower Mainland, union says

B.C. dairy farmers say federal budget not enough to cut losses from USMCA

Concerns raised over vague details, funding access and impacts on growth

Most Read