April 6, 2021 – In an effort to reduce waste and cut back on plastic pollution, New Leaf Community Markets is taking single-use water containers off its shelves by Earth Day, April 22. The ban includes plastic bottles, fiber, aluminum and glass containers in sizes of one liter of less.
“Beverage bottles, caps and lids make up the second most common form of ocean litter,” says New Leaf sustainability manager Athena Petty. “By committing to using reusable bottles, we can remove almost 70,000 single-use plastic, aluminum and glass bottles a year.”
The natural foods chain—with stores in Santa Cruz, Capitola, Aptos and Half Moon Bay—is focusing its waste reduction campaign on still water containers, but will continue to offer larger sizes of water, along with sparkling and flavored water in individual sizes.
Stores will also sell individually-sized refillable aluminum containers from Pathwater. “We’re starting efforts with still water in containers one liter or less because opting for reusables is an easy individual choice to help lessen our collective environmental impact,” Petty adds.
Bulk water machines are available inside each store for filling reusable containers.
Eliminating water bottles is just one step in New Leaf’s sustainability program for 2021, which also includes:
- Reducing operational waste from stores to achieve a 57% landfill diversion rate
- Meeting an annual company-wide goal to reduce energy use by 5-percent per revenue dollar
- Offering Neighbor Rewards customers 10 bonus points when shopping with reusables
- Increasing participation in the e-receipts program to save paper
Environmental stewardship has been a core value of New Leaf Community Markets since opening its first store in 1985. Other initiatives include green building, an emphasis on locally-produced foods and envirotokens—which allow customers who bring reusable bags to made a donation to the community cause of their choice.