West Sacramento-based Raley’s is rolling out a cleaning and sanitation program designed to save millions of gallons of water and dramatically lower its energy costs.
Using products developed by St. Paul, Minn.-based Ecolab, the grocery chain hopes to implement the program in all its Raley’s, Bel Air and Nob Hill Foods stores by the end of April.
The local grocer, which has more than 120 stores in California and northern Nevada, says it is the first retailer in North America to use the newly developed Ecolab program, which focuses on products and procedures that require less labor, water, energy and waste.
“We’ve worked with Ecolab for a long time, but we’re the first with this new program. Our size as a regional retailer tends to be a great testing ground for this,” Megan Burritt, Raley’s director of wellness and sustainability, said in a Friday interview.
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Once fully in place, Raley’s says the program will annually save about 4 million gallons of water, 7.5 million kilowatt-hours of energy, 100 tons in shipping and 23,000 hours of labor. The company did not disclose how much it spent on the new cleaning systems.
Ecolab products, with names like Whiteout Power Foam, LmENTARY, SolidSense and SaniSave, are a line of patented cleaning foams, no-rinse floor sanitizers, deli slicer cleaners and energy- and water-saving sink systems.
Burritt said Raley’s began using the Ecolab products late last year. She said the process does not involve installation of major equipment, but store workers are being trained in cleaning and sanitizing using different techniques and materials.
For example, Ecolab’s SaniSave liquid cleans and sanitizes deli slicers that traditionally are cleaned with two products in a wash-rinse-sanitize process. Similarly, the SolidSense three-compartment sink is designed to quickly cut through grease and sanitize food pans in a fraction of time compared with a traditional water-wash sanitization method.
“It’s just much simpler and quicker with these processes,” Burritt said. “For our customers, what we’re talking about is behind the counter ... anything holding meat, seafood, salads or cleaning rotisseries. Anything that touches food.”
She said Ecolab products will also simplify the process of cleaning floors and, because they work with cooler water, Raley’s can save on its water-heating costs. “All of it helps us reduce our impact on the environment.”
Ecolab Inc. bills itself as a global leader in water, hygiene and energy technologies and services for clients in food services, hospitality, health care, industrial and oil/gas sectors. The company’s Ecolab name was adopted in 1986, but its roots date back to 1923, when it started as Economics Laboratory.
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