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­­Battery awaren­ess key to safer disposal

Along with the lifesaving message to change the batteries in your smoke alarm this year, Minister for the Environment Sussan Ley is urging households to take an extra safety step and recycle the batteries.

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Woolworths partners with Sydney Zoo to rescue food waste

Animals at Sydney Zoo will soon be feeding on surplus fresh food rescued from Woolworths, after the zoo joined Woolworth’s Stock Feed for Farmers program.

According to a Woolworths statement, Sydney Zoo joins over 750 farmers and community groups that access surplus fresh food from the supermarket.

“Last year more than 32,000 tonnes of surplus food no longer suitable for sale or human consumption went to feed animals both on farms and in zoos,” the statement reads.

Woolworths Head of Sustainability Adrian Cullen said Woolworths first diversion priority is working with OzHarvest, Foodbank and Fareshare to feed people that would otherwise go hungry.

“We then work with local farmers and the likes of Sydney Zoo, so that surplus food, which cannot go to hunger relief, is used as feed for animals or for on-farm composting, to help further reduce any food waste,” he said.

Sydney Zoo Managing Director Jake Burgess said Woolworths’ support will allow the zoo to reallocate funds from food to conservation and education work.

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International specialist to help fight food waste

The Fight Food Waste Cooperative Research Centre (CRC) has partnered with Woolworths and Food Innovation Australia Limited (FIAL) to bring international sustainable food systems specialist Mark Barthel to Australia.

Mark Barthel has 25 years of experience fighting food waste with brands such as Tesco, Amazon, Walmart, Marks & Spencer and Nestle, and international organisations such as WRAP, the World Economic Forum, United Nations and the FAO.

“It is an exciting time to be working with Woolworths, CRC and FIAL to develop a food waste reduction roadmap,” Mr Barthel said.

“Although only three per cent of national food waste is attributed to supermarkets, they still have a critical role to play in engaging with their customers about how they can make the most of the food they buy.”

Mr Barthel said Woolworths was at the forefront in educating customers to minimising food waste via their Food Savers program.

“They have also made commitments themselves, with 100 per cent of their stores now having a food waste diversion program in place,” Mr Barthel said.

“I am excited to be working closely with Woolworths to develop a roadmap that will see them engaging with suppliers, customers and community partners to work together to tackle this issue.”

According to the Australian National Food Waste Baseline report, 7.3 million tonnes of food is wasted each year, half of which ends up in landfill.

“Preventing food waste entering landfill in Australia would be the equivalent of taking over 1 million cars off the road in terms of its environmental impact,” Mr Barthel said.

“There is a huge role for businesses to play in reducing food waste along the supply chain, and in addition to working on a roadmap for Woolworths, I’m also going to be working with FIAL to establish a voluntary agreement program with Australian businesses as part of the National Food Waste Strategy.”

FIAL Managing Director Mirjana Prica said the organisation was thrilled to have Mr Barthel working on the implementation of the National Food Waste Strategy.

“His experience in setting up the UK’s Cortauld Agreement, and understanding of sustainable food systems, will provide invaluable insights that will help shape Australia’s efforts to reduce food waste,” Ms Prica said.

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Woolworths working with start-up to tackle food waste

Woolworths is working with independent start-up Escavox, a business tasked with extending the shelf life of fresh fruit and vegetables in retail outlets by tracking and monitoring produce from the farm to the supermarket, according to an Australian Financial Review report.

Escavox was started last year with a plan to track each pallet of fruit and vegetables and measure temperature, time and location.

John Dahlsen, former chairman of Woolworths has joined the start-up led by CEO Luke Wood.

Temperature controls and specialised packaging are common measures to prevent product losses in the supply chain.

According to Escavox’s website, production and supply chain data needs to be automatically collected and impartially managed if it is to be trusted and acted on.

It points out that siloed operators, inconsistent visibility in each leg of the chain, limited incentives to collaborate and multiple points of handover has led to no aggregated data and no person or party able to see or understand the complete supply chain.

This makes it difficult to assign product accountability and prevent liability from those who own the product even if that cause is not within their control.

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