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 Ethical Plan scheme intends to maximise recycling and anaerobic digestion processes and minimise the use of incineration and will divert more than 34,000 tonnes of food store waste away from landfill every year.
Marcus Gover – “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”
The food waste will be re-cycled, re-used, turned into energy or sold on.
It has already been introduced at around 1,500 food stores and is now being rolled out at pace to its entire food store estate, and is on track to be completed this summer.
The back-haul system involves waste being segregated at store level, before collection and delivery by The Co-operative’s Logistics Service to its distribution depots.
From there, waste management specialists, Biffa, deal with the waste as follows:
- waste food and flowers go for anaerobic digestion to generate biogas energy
- customer and general waste go to a refuse-derived fuel facility, which shreds and dehydrates solid waste to produce fuel
- dry mixed items, such as empty milk bottles, tins, cans, office paper and till receipts, go to dedicated materials recycling facilities, which sort and separate materials which can be recycled into new goods and products.
Cardboard and polythene will continue to be baled and sent for recycling.
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, commented: “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.”
David Roberts, director of trading property, The Co-operative Food, 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.