Friday, August 24, 2007

The Weekly Green Report

The photograph above is a building being constructed by UK retailer Tesco for one of its U.S. Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, the first of which are set to open in November of this year. The store in this photograph is located in the growing Phoenix, Arizona valley.

Tesco, the worlds third largest global food retailer after number one Wal-Mart and number two French chain Carrefour, is well know for its green/environmental initiatives in the United Kingdom. It is bringing its environmental retailing philosophy with it to the U.S. according to the grocery company.

All of the 10,000 square-foot Fresh & Easy Neighborhood Markets, which will feature ready-to-eat meals, fresh produce and other perishables, and specialty and natural products, are being built to high energy-reduction and green standards. They are triple insulated, some will have solar panels on the roofs, and all the equipment in the stores will meet the highest energy rating standards. Each store will also recycle all of it's waste, and shoppers will be offered inexpensive canvas grocery bags for a nominal cost.

Tesco also is building a state of the art distribution center for the stores in Southern California. The facility has solar panels on the roof and Tesco says it exceeded current U.S. green standards in constructing the building.

More Weekly Green Report: Plastic grocery bag recycling legislation...Suffolk County, New York, Legislator Wayne Horsley announced this week he is proposing legislation that would require supermarkets and other retailers with stores over 10,000 square-feet to establish in-store plastic bag recycling programs. The legislation would require all retailers who fit this criteria to have these programs up and running by Jan. 1, 2009. The stores would have to place plastic bag recycling bins in a visible part of the store. Those stores more than 20,000 square-feet in size would also have to offer reusable, canvas shopping bags for sale in-store.

Many New York supermarket chains, such as Stop & Shop, Tops and others already have plastic grocery bag recycling bins in their stores. Many also currently sell the reusable grocery bags. In fact, Horsley made his announcement of the legislation inside a Stop & Shop store in West Babylon, New York on Tuesday of this week.

California already passed a similar law and retailers implemented it last month. There was no objection to the law as passed in California by retail grocers, in fact the California Grocers Association (CGA) helped author the legislation and is spearheading its implementation with its grocer members. New York legislators would be wise to look at California as there model in how government and industry worked together to pass and implement the plastic bag recycling legislation. No more plastic bags at all...Meanwhile, one retailer in Seattle, Washington has decided to completely eliminate the use of plastic grocery bags in its stores. PCC Natural Markets, a natural foods Coop with 8 stores throughout the region, says beginning Oct. 1 it will no longer offer plastic grocery bags to its shoppers. The retailer will use only recyclable paper bags in its stores. It already sells reusable canvas grocery bags for a low cost but said they will encourage shoppers to use them for their purchases and perhaps offer them at an even lower cost. There is more in this Aug. 22, 2007 Seattle Post-Intelligencer story written by Kathy Mulady:

Organic Farming for a Greener Planet...According to a new report by the U.S. Department of Food and Agriculture (USDA) organic farming has become on of the fastest segments of U.S. agriculture. Not only are U.S. farmers increasingly turning to organic farming because there is a growing market for organic foods, but also because of the green or environmental benefits--and cost savings--to the farmers themselves and to the land in general A few examples include organic farming being a potential way to lower input costs, decrease reliance on nonrenewable energy sources and boost farm income.

The full report, produced by the USDA Economic Research Service includes additional information of interests to retailers, suppliers, brokers and others in the natural and specialty foods industries. You can view the report here:

More on "green" grocery bags...East Coast-based supermarket chains Giant Foods, LLC. and Martin's Supermarkets have teamed up with Commerce, California-based Earthwise Bag Company, to launch a reusable grocery bag program in all of their east coast stores, according to Progressive Grocer magazine. you can read more here: The reusable bags will retail for 99 cents each. Both chains are owned by Dutch food conglomerate Ahold. Another Ahold banner, Tops Markets, launched an identical program a couple weeks ago in all of its east coast stores. Reusable bags catching on around the world...Reususable shopping bags aren't just catching on in the U.S. and Europe. They also are becoming used more throughout the developed world. This article in the Inquirer, a newspaper in Mania, Philippines, talks about how reusable shopping and grocery bags are catching on with consumers there and being promoted by supermarkets and other retailers in the Philippines.

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