Sainsbury's Weymouth

Sainsbury’s Weymouth store harvests rainwater and uses low-flush toilets

Sainsbury’s has opened its first ‘Water Neutral’ store and a second is to follow as part of ongoing efforts to slash its water usage.

It claims its new eco-friendly store in Weymouth, which opened last week, is completely self-sufficient for water. The approach will be replicated at its new Leicester supermarket, which opens next week.

The Weymouth store was water-neutral because 70% of its water usage was generated through rainwater harvesting and other water initiatives such as pre-rinse spray taps and low-flush toilets, said Sainsbury’s.

The remaining 30% - drinking-quality water for food preparation - had been offset by sponsoring water-saving initiatives in the local community. At least 4.5 cubic metres a day was offset through Weymouth College and Wey Valley School, for example.

Sainsbury’s revealed this March that it had reduced its water usage by 50% across its estate since 2005-2006, despite growing its floorspace by 40% over the period.

It had achieved this by fixing underground water leaks, investing in automatic meter reading, installing car wash water reclaim units, installing rainwater harvesting in all new stores and conducting audits to improve water efficiencies, it said.

Identifying an underground leak at its Wigan store had saved 53,710 cubic metres of water a year, and installing rainwater harvesting for the toilets at its Swansea store had saved 1,300 cubic metres a year.

“Measuring, managing and reducing water use is one of the most important focus areas for our business,” said property director Neil Sachdev.

“By collaborating with our partners and suppliers to better understand the amount of water we’re using, we can start to put measures in place like Water Neutral to help reduce it and address this global challenge.”