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Posted on: May 14, 2021

Banff grocery store named Zero Waste Trailblazer

IGA Trailblazer News

The Town of Banff is honouring the local IGA with a Zero Waste Trailblazer Award, in recognition of environmental leadership for going above and beyond efforts to reduce, re-use and recycle.

 The Banff IGA was selected as the most recent recipient of the recognition program for its comprehensive recycling systems, clear signage, and well-trained staff who are critical to reducing food waste. In addition, IGA has eliminated all single-use checkout bags from their store.

IGA is a committed participant in Banff’s recycling and food scraps programs, as well as their parent company’s (Sobeys) corporate-wide initiatives. These include a special meat scrap recycling program, soft plastics and plastic film recycling, and procurement efforts to reduce non-recyclable packaging waste.  

The efforts to divert food waste from landfill impressed the Zero Waste team.

“Banff IGA doesn’t mess around when it comes to food waste,” said Carla Bitz, Environmental Coordinator for the Town of Banff. “Since 2017, they have been donating over $200 worth of edible food each day to Banff Food Rescue, which helps people in our community while dramatically cutting the amount of waste going to landfill. This adds up to over $75,000 per year! In addition, IGA’s ‘Enjoy Tonight’ system marks down fresh food that is on its best before date to help people get great deals and good food.”

To reduce the need to divert food in the first place, IGA has special Fresh Item Management software to monitor ordering too much produce that could go to waste.  

For Banff businesses, garbage is the most expensive service when it comes to waste management. IGA’s comprehensive program to divert food from the garbage stream also saves costs.

“We congratulate IGA for continually ploughing forward on all of these initiatives, especially as an essential service in Banff during the pandemic,” said Bitz. “You are truly zero waste heroes.”

Zero Waste Trailblazers are selected based on 10 categories and 20 certification criteria relating to waste reduction and diversion practices, measured results, and related environmental protection initiatives listed at Businesses must score higher than 16 points (80%) to achieve Trailblazer status. The Trailblazer award is provided to one business every three months in recognition of exceptional environmental leadership.  

The Zero Waste Trail program addresses the fact that 65% of all waste going to landfill from Banff comes from businesses and organizations, and almost 50% of their waste that goes to landfill is food waste. Banff’s goal is to eliminate all garbage going to landfill by the year 2050. 

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