Co-op to divert all food store waste from landfill

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Co-op to divert all food store waste from landfill

Co-op to divert all food store waste from landfill
May 26
10:58 2013

The Co-operative is aiming to stop 34,000 tonnes of rubbish going to landfill by recycling all food store waste from its food shops.

Food waste will be sent to anaerobic digesters which will convert the waste into energy.

The Co-operative, which has one of the largest and most diverse food retail estates across the UK, is extending its waste back-haul initiative to more than 2,800 food stores. The remainder will sign up by the end of July, five months ahead of schedule.

Other dry mixed items, such as empty milk bottles, tins and cans, will be sent for recycling.  Cardboard and polythene will continue to be baled and sent for recycling.

As well as reducing the amount sent to landfill, the scheme will end more than 225,000 skip collections. It will also cut down on road miles as waste will be sorted at stores and collected by the firm’s own lorries.

According to the retailer, the Co-operative is committed to reducing food waste, both in store and in customers’ homes, and has several other processes in place at store level and in the supply chain.

In a statement, the Co-op said: “It ensures stores maintain the right amount of stock availability and stock holding, it uses the latest packaging technology to increase shelf-life and also provides more prominent storage instructions to help customers reduce their waste at home.”

‘Community-based retailer’

The Co-operative Food director of Trading Property David Roberts said: “As a community-based retailer with an ethical approach to business we have a social responsibility to reduce waste that goes to landfill, and we have pledged in our Ethical Plan to divert all our food store waste from landfill by the end of 2013, which we will achieve by the end of July, five months ahead of schedule.

“The Co-operative has one of the largest and most complex networks of all food retailers in the UK and we therefore needed a robust, but commercially viable, strategy to meet our own tough targets.

“However, after a lot of hard work we have created a unique initiative which brings all-round benefits to our stores across the country, and the local communities in which they serve, as well as the environment and the business.

“The waste back-haul project is a win-win solution. It will not only divert all our food store waste away from landfill, but will also convert it into a valuable resource, which we believe sets new standards in waste management.”


Marcus Gover, director of Closed Loop Economy, Wrap, which has worked alongside The Co-operative in an advisory role during the trials for the waste back-hauling project, said: “The Co-operative Food has developed a solution that fits with the complexity of their portfolio, large number of sites and their locations across the UK.  It will achieve diversion of waste from landfill through increased recycling and treatment of food waste by AD – all whilst reducing their waste management costs.  We are supportive of this project and commend them on introducing this scheme across all their stores.”

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