Kroger Cuts Waste 30%, Fleet Efficiency up 8%

by | Jun 23, 2011

Kroger manufacturing plants cut their waste to landfill by 30 percent between 2009 and 2010, and the company’s fleet increased its cases shipped per gallon by eight percent, according to the supermarket’s 2011 sustainability report.

The report says that Kroger plants reduced their waste to landfill by 22 million pounds in 2010. The company has a goal of a further 30 percent reduction, against the 2009 baseline, in 2011. This year it expects at least seven of its manufacturing plants to become zero waste-to-landfill, and aims to achieve that goal for all its plants by 2014.

In 2010, Kroger says it saved more than 159 million plastic bags through staff training and through providing over 5 million reusable bags to customers, putting the company more than 35 percent of the way towards its goal of saving a billion bags by 2014. The supermarket’s “Fill the Bag” training shows new associates how to optimally fill a plastic grocery bag, by filling it with more items and avoiding double bagging. Kroger says it plans to reach the 2014 goal through more training, new parking lot signage, and changing customer habits.

Kroger goals for 2011 include selling another 5 million reusable bags, saving another 150 million plastic bags and recycling 25 million pounds of plastic.

Last year Kroger expanded its Perishable Donations Partnership, which donates food that is safe but can no longer be sold, to include more than 88 percent of stores. The program donated 42.4 million pounds of fresh meat, dairy products, fruits and vegetables, equal to over 33 million meals. The company is aiming for 45 million pounds by the end of 2011.

In 2010, Kroger improved its fleet efficiency, in cases shipped per gallon used, by 8 percent by 2009. Last year the company introduced 125 Freightliner Cascadia tractors with Detroit Diesel engines, which are 20 percent more fuel efficient than Kroger’s average tractor in 2008. From an initial 2008 baseline, Kroger says it has improved transportation efficiency by 15.5 percent.

The chain is now targeting a 40 percent fleet efficiency improvement by 2014. It plans to achieve this by reducing the number of miles the fleet travels, ensuring equipment operates at peak performance, and implementing fuel-saving strategies. It also plans to replace ten to 15 percent of its older tractors and trailers with new fleet each year, and has a target to increase miles-per-gallon by 20 percent by 2014.

Kroger says that its carbon footprint increased slightly last year as a result of better data collection. Scope 1 and 2 emissions in 2010 were 6,550,146 metric tons of carbon dioxide equivalent, versus 6,336,019 metric tons in 2009. “Reducing our carbon footprint remains an important pillar in Kroger’s sustainability agenda,” the report said.

In 2010, Kroger’s scope 1 natural gas usage decreased by 7.4 percent compared to 2009, and it achieved a 1.3% reduction in scope 2 electricity consumption, despite company growth in square footage, tonnage, and sales.

Its newest stores each consume 30 percent less energy than stores built in 2000, with technologies including motion sensors, computer-controlled heating, venting and air conditioning systems (HVAC), skylights, and LED lighting in glass door frozen cases, on fresh meat cases and in back room coolers and freezers. These lights use 75 percent less energy than fluorescent lights, Kroger says.

Kroger stores have a goal of reducing overall energy consumption by 35 percent by 2013, compared to a 2000 baseline.

At the end of 2010, Kroger completed its first wind energy project with the installation of two wind turbines in Lancaster, Penn. Kroger’s Turkey Hill Dairy will purchase all of the wind energy produced from The Frey Farm Wind Turbine Project, supplying 25 percent of the dairy’s electricity needs.

In 2011, Kroger plans to complete the first phase of about 900 kW of solar photovoltaic cells on top of four stores and one distribution center. It estimates that these will produce nearly 1.2 million kWh per year.

Kroger says that a new management reporting system implemented over the past year improved the available information on the company’s fugitive refrigerants. From this new reporting system, Kroger determined that its fugitive refrigerants increased in 2010 from its 2009 reported number (2010:6,550,146 vs. 2009: 6,336,019).

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