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Harrison, Agromin Join Albertsons on Pilot Food Waste Program

Harrison Industries and Agromin have joined forces with the Albertsons supermarket chain in a pilot program that will all but eliminate food waste at its Ventura and Camarillo stores.

Previously, food scraps from Albertsons’ meat, produce, deli, dairy, bakery and floral departments ended up in the trash. On Monday, Harrison delivered special barrels to all departments at the Ventura store that its employees will fill with everything from meat fat and bones to pineapple tops and corn husks. Same goes for liquid food waste like yogurt, cottage cheese and mayonnaise; bread and baked goods; and eggs and dairy products.

Albertsons, however, will continue to donate recoverable food to feed the hungry through its Food Rescue program.

Every Monday, Wednesday and Friday, Harrison trucks will collect the food waste and deliver it to Agromin, an Oxnard-based organics recovery company. Employing a Covered Aerated Static Pile System, Agromin will mix the food waste with yard waste that Harrison collects from its residential and commercial customers to create an enriched compost and alternative fuel.

“This is an exciting thing to be part of,” Agromin CEO Bill Camarillo, adding a potting mix produced under the Albertsons label will appear on store shelves in the near future.

Albertsons will initiate an identical food waste program at its Camarillo store on April 30.

Rick Crandall, director of Sustainability for Albertsons’ Southern California/Nevada Region, said the program is part of the supermarket chain’s goal to divert 90 percent of its waste from landfills by 2025. He added the Ventura Albertsons store is the 110th out of 248 in the chain’s SoCal/Nevada region to begin the program.

“We firmly believe it’s the right thing for the environment and the right thing for business,” Crandall said.

Joe Ferrara, manager of the Ventura Albertsons, predicted the program will go seamlessly. “I’m looking forward to getting this thing going,” he said. “All our employees are going to be involved.”

For Harrison Industries, the program is another step in the company’s goal to reach “Zero Waste,” said President Ralph Harrison.