Q-and-A: New Seasons' Wendy Collie on not wasting one's efforts
By Andy Giegerich
Sustainable Business Oregon editor
Wendy Collie said New Seasons' zero-waste designation stems from the company's longtime mindset.
Wendy Collie, New Seasons Market’s president and CEO, is understandably excited about the grocer’s zero-waste designation, confirmed after a successful Portland State University Community Environmental Services audit.
We caught up with Collie to talk about how the popular outlet achieved the lofty green status.
Waste not: Behind the scenes of a waste audit
Sustainable Business Oregon: It sounds like this formalizes efforts that New Seasons has participated in for many, many years. Is that right?
Wendy Collie: When New Seasons Market was founded, being a steward of our natural resources was a vital part of our mission. Since its inception, New Seasons Market has worked to minimize its footprint and positively impact the community. We opened our first store in 2000 in the Raleigh Hills neighborhood with the same values and foundational practices you find today: edible food donations, community giving partnerships, a community waste diversion program, and a commitment to local food and farmers. For us, zero waste is a way of thinking and a process to shift our focus from what to do with our waste, to preventing waste from the outset.
For example, we made sure we took customer plastics because, at the time, plastics were not collected at the curbside. New Seasons has never used plastic grocery bags (which are now banned in the City of Portland), so for years, we essentially we handling the bags of other retailers in order to serve our customers and community.
Unique to others in the grocery industry, we have always donated edible (not saleable) food to staff and community organizations. This donation program is key to waste prevention, and these resources are going to a higher and more beneficial use by feeding people.
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