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)

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Nanaimo RCMP hope the public can help them find a 16-year-old who has been missing since Sunday. (Photo submitted)
UPDATE: 16-year-old Nanaimo boy located safe

Teen had been reported missing last week and it was thought he may have left town

The Regional District of Nanaimo plans to make its operations more efficient as it works on long-term goals around carbon-neutrality. (PQB News file photo)
Regional District of Nanaimo works to become carbon neutral by 2032

RDN committee of the whole members endorse plan developed by consultant

The Millstone River in Nanaimo. (News Bulletin file photo)
Regional district looks at value of Nanaimo’s natural assets

Report focused on the Millstone River could inform future decisions on corporate asset management

Protesters gather along the Pearson Bridge on Terminal Avenue in downtown Nanaimo last month as part of an event called Worth More Standing. (News Bulletin file photo)
LETTER TO THE EDITOR: B.C. hasn’t managed forests properly

Protesters opposing logging in Fairy Creek speak for many British Columbians, say letter writers

Nanaimo singer Victoria Vaughn recently released an EP with local producer Austin Penner. (Photo courtesy Taylor Murray)
Nanaimo singer and recent VIU grad releases EP about becoming an adult

Victoria Vaughn’s ‘Growing Pains’ recorded with local producer Austin Penner

In this image from NASA, NASA’s experimental Mars helicopter Ingenuity lands on the surface of Mars Monday, April 19, 2021. The little 4-pound helicopter rose from the dusty red surface into the thin Martian air Monday, achieving the first powered, controlled flight on another planet. (NASA via AP)
VIDEO: NASA’s Mars helicopter takes flight, 1st for another planet

The $85 million helicopter demo was considered high risk, yet high reward

Carver Ken Sheen had almost finished work on a large cowboy carving commissioned by the City of Williams Lake to replace the original overlooking the Stampede Grounds when fire broke out Friday, April 18 at his property between Williams Lake and Quesnel. (Pine River Carving Facebook photos)
Cow boss statue destined for Williams Lake Stampede Grounds goes up in flames

Carver Ken Sheen lost the statue, all his tools and his shop in the blaze

B.C. Labour Minister Harry Bains. (Hansard TV)
B.C. moves to protect employee pay for COVID-19 vaccination

Most won’t need to take time off work, labour minister says

Orca 1
Orcas: Our Shared Future finally surfaces at Royal B.C. Museum

Museum dives into the world of the killer whale as delayed feature exhibition now open

New figures show Canadian housing prices outpacing those in other developed countries. (Black Press Media file photo)
Canadian housing prices fastest rising in the world

Relative to 2000, housing prices have risen by a factor of more than 2.5

The Nanaimo Clippers are seeking assistance in raising money for Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank. Texting NANKIDS to 41010 will see a $10 donation to the food bank. (Submitted photo)
Nanaimo Clippers look to assist food bank with fundraising goal

People can text-to-donate to support Loaves and Fishes Community Food Bank

Polystyrene has been outlawed as a take-out option for restaurants in Tofino and Ucluelet. (Black Press Media file photo)
Styrofoam done as a takeout option on Island’s Pacific Rim

Tofino and Ucluelet ban polystyrene take-out containers

Most Read