May 2006


500 tons of compost donated to California

Redondo Beach, CA— As part of its commitment to the environment, Vons announced that it will donate 500 tons of organic compost to qualifying Southern California parks, schools and community gardens. The compost has a retail value of $75,000, and was generated entirely through a Vons program to compost excess produce and other organic-based items at its supermarkets throughout Southern California.

Each year, Vons and parent company Safeway recycle nearly 100,000 tons of usable produce and green waste to produce high quality organic compost for garden fertilization. Unlike many commercial fertilizers that can include sewer sludge and animal manure, Vons uses only produce trimmings, organic packaging, and discarded perishable products such as baked goods, floral items and dairy products.

The program expansion comes after a recent donation of nearly 20 tons of compost to the Sepulveda Garden, a 16-acre community garden in Encino, and Mount Gleason Middle School in Sunland. Vons is partnering with the Los Angeles Conservation Corps to make compost available to qualifying charitable organizations through the end of the year. As a free, environmentally friendly alternative to traditional fertilizer, the compost will improve soil fertility, texture, and aeration; increase soil’s water-holding capacity; and stimulate healthy root development in plants.

The composting program is part of a comprehensive recycling effort by Vons that has reduced the amount of waste it sends to landfills by nearly 90 percent over the past decade — diverting enough waste from Southern California landfills to fill a line of trucks stretching from City Hall to Disneyland. In 2005 Vons and Safeway also recycled more than 300,000 tons of corrugated cardboard, nearly 8,500 tons of plastic materials, and 30,000 tons of additional food waste unsuitable for composting annually.

For its commitment to recycling, Safeway received the 2005 WRAP (Waste Reduction Award Program) award for all stores in California. This recognizes extraordinary efforts and results in waste reduction. The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) also recognized Safeway’s commitment to using renewable “green” energy to power its nationwide fuel stations and Pleasanton corporate offices. In January 2006, the EPA named Safeway among the Top 25 Renewable Energy Users for purchasing 78 million kilowatt hours of wind power, making the company the largest buyer of renewable energy in California and one of the top 25 purchasers in the country.


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