Safeway, Biodiesel, Recycling and Wind Power

A couple of years back a bunch of us stood in the street and watched the book store of the local university burn to the ground in the middle of the night. The next day the only things left were the once familiar walls of a former Safeway grocery store filled to the brim with charred rubble. Try as they might the distinctive look of the exterior walls that every Safeway in the area always had could not be hidden.

I grew up thinking that Safeway was a synonym for grocery store; I can’t honestly remember going to any other until Safeway pulled up stakes and left Texas. The familiar buildings still stand all across my home town. So I was glad to hear that the company I grew up with is one of the most environmentally conscious out there; even though they abandoned us.

Recently Safeway switched to using B20 Biodiesel for all of the 600+ trucks in its California and Arizona Fleet. The fuel is produced from domestically grown Virgin soybean oil. By switching in these two states alone almost 70 percent of their diesel consumption is biodiesel; Co2 output is reduced by 23 metric tons per year.

In addition, Safeway opened their first solar powered grocery store in September; the first of 23 such stores. The companies 295 fuel stations have been powered by wind energy since 2005; making Safeway the largest purchaser of green energy in California.

And if that wasn’t enough, Safeway stores recycle much of their waste diverting over 85 percent of their solid waste away from landfills. That’s over half a million tons of recyclables in 2006 alone. It would be interesting to see how other grocery stores stack up.