Despite the long transport, Jack Jacobs, director of distribution for Safeway’s eastern division, said it still make good business sense. Still, it isn’t the system Weis Markets is putting into place.
At Weis Markets, the produce department is the biggest contributor to the composting program, said Patti Olenick, sustainability manager.
From my point of view, its making and selling compost is a nice way of building a relationship with the people who buy gardening plants at Weis Markets.
Consumers who come there for garden plants and compost also are interested in fresh fruits and vegetables. I bet Weis Markets is where they will come for what isn’t harvested from their own garden patch.
Weis Markets is putting together a plan to let consumers know about the program, and it will start with copies of the Biocycle.net article being reprinted for shoppers at the stores taking part in the composting program.
Earth Day tie-in
The company is gearing up for a major campaign starting on Earth Day. The compost will be featured in the store’s circulars, on the chain’s Facebok page and on its blog, Olenick said.
Weis is putting together a promotional campaign that includes giving consumers a bag of compost with the purchase of bedding and patio plants. The exact offer will change over the four months the campaign is conducted, she said.
The Weis Choice Compost bags have a tagline “Unmistakably green,” which is a riff on the tagline “Unmistakably Weis” that the chain has used for quite some time. “Unmistakably green” has been in use for a couple of years, she said.
That tagline along with icons representing the chain’s recycling, water conservation, energy conservation and community building efforts are being installed in new and newly remodeled stores, Olenick said.
Weis Choice Compost is certified by the U.S. Composting Council for use on trees and shrubs, flower and vegetable gardens, and on the lawn.
Weis also contributes to the Two Cents for Compost program, which helps fund the Composting Council Research and Education Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the U.S. Composting Council.
Weis Markets, through the council, plans to support the Million Tomato Compost Campaign, through which composters donate compost to community gardens for growing tomatoes. It is planned to start in the spring.
These are the take aways, as I see it:
- It takes real commitment to make a sustainability program work. Whitewashing normal operations won’t be enough.
- Neither will not making the program cost-effective. Weis Markets has provided a good role model.
- Connecting the produce department to gardening sales has to boost sales.
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