At Seven & i Holdings, food products account for a significant portion of net sales at around 60%. Improving food recycling rates has therefore been an important theme for us. We are also addressing waste emissions associated with store operations by promoting measures to curb waste generation as well as reuse and recycle waste.
Ito-Yokado established "Seven Farm Tomisato" as an agricultural production corporation in Tomisato City, Chiba Prefecture, thereby becoming the first player in the retail sector to engage in "recycling-oriented agriculture."
"Recycling-oriented agriculture" is a system for composting food residues (garbage) generated by IY stores and using them at Seven Farms. The produce that is grown at the farms is then harvested and sold at the stores from which the food residues were generated. In July 2015, the 11th agricultural production corporation in Japan, "Seven Farm Niigata," was established.
Seven Farms Outline
SEJ has been promoting "Eco Distribution*" since 1994 as a system for appropriate processing and recycling of waste. Under this system, we work to recycle food products that have passed their sell-by dates into feed and fertilizer. The system is operating in 24 prefectures in Japan. In the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016, the combined recycle rate for products that had passed their sell-by dates and discarded food oil was 52.4%.
We will continue to promote recycling with the understanding and cooperation of franchise stores and suppliers.
Major Company Food-Waste Recycling Rates (FY2016)
At IY, a "biodegradable garbage processor" system that breaks down garbage using microorganisms was introduced in October of 2011 and has been installed in 18 stores. Through the power of microorganisms, the devices break down into water and CO2 garbage that is ill-suited to recycling (such as highly fibrous substances, etc.). This process results in reduced CO2 emissions compared to incineration processing, and it offers an effective reduction of waste volumes.
A miniature version of the biodegradable garbage processor that uses the action of microorganisms has also been in test operation at SEJ since 2013.
IY is working to curtail the generation of waste and to promote reuse and recycling, with a view to reducing waste emissions. For example, in product deliveries, we recommend the use of reusable containers and the use of hangers for delivery of apparel. At stores, we promote understanding of recycling, and store employees are encouraged to rigorously sort waste for recycling purposes.
At SEJ, when stores are to be rebuilt or closed rather than disposing of the product shelving, fixtures, chiller cases, and lights, they are reused at other stores. Furthermore, reusable steel frames and recyclable sashes are used in construction of stores to reduce the amount of waste emitted during store demolition. In the fiscal year ended February 29, 2016, there were 34,549 items of store equipment recovered and re-used.