Various waste products are produced through the REWE Group’s business activities. Proper recycling of unavoidable waste is an important objective of the company in order to conserve valuable resources.
Three areas of action were defined in the pillars Energy, Climate and the Environment of the group-wide sustainability strategy: Climate-relevant emissions, energy efficiency and conservation of resources. The latter are activities in relation to waste management. The REWE Group’s goal is to mechanically recycle waste in order to conserve resources.
In dealing with waste and reusable materials, the REWE Group and its waste-disposal partners systematically apply the principle of recycling.
In particular, reusable material found in logistics is sorted to the greatest extent possible and can thus be optimally provided for further use. This is particularly the case for non-hazardous wastes. These wastes can be reprocessed to a large extent, and many of them can even be mechanically recycled. In the year under review, this quota was 5 per cent. Nearly all paper, cardboard and boxes are mechanically recycled. This group makes up the largest share of all waste at almost 41 per cent. Paper, cardboard and boxes are an important raw material for the paper industry, as new paper and cardboard can be produced from the recycled fibres. A large amount of plastics, metals, glass and store rubbish is recycled as well. Organic waste produced in food stores is transported to biogas units where it is converted into electricity and heat.
Avoidance of food waste
The REWE Group strives to keep food waste to a minimum. As a member of the National Wholesale And Retail Dialogue Forum To Reduce Food Waste, the company aims to halve food waste on retail and consumer levels by 2030 and to reduce it along the production and supply chains. To keep the proportion of unsold merchandise as low as possible, modern forecasting systems and automated ordering processes are used in combination with short transport routes and end-to-end refrigeration. These actions help ensure that the stores are supplied in a demand-driven manner. On an annual average, PENNY and REWE now sell more than 98 per cent of their food. However, REWE und PENNY provide food that can no longer be sold but can still be eaten safely to local food banks. For more information about the REWE Group’s commitment to the avoidance of food waste, see Projects and Sponsorships.
The commercial experience of employees also plays an important role in estimating requirements, and the REWE Group offers regular training courses on this subject.
The amount of non-hazardous waste in the group in Germany and Austria totalled about 872,000 tonnes in 2021. This was a 16 per cent increase compared to the previous year. The increase was due mainly to the fact that Lekkerland and independent retailers were included in the report for the first time.
In past years, at much less than one per cent, hazardous waste – mainly certain old electrical appliances, oil, vehicle batteries and fluorescent tubes – made up a very small part of the total waste. It is not expected that the volume of hazardous waste will increase significantly. Therefore, due to the complex effort of recording this, it is no longer reported separately in the sustainability report.
Non-hazardous waste – total volume (t)*
Non-hazardous waste – percentage by waste type
|Waste for recycling
||Paper and cardboard/boxes
||Other (e.g. wood, metals, construction waste)