Co-op plans to recycle all food store waste

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The Co-operative Group is extending its waste back-haul initiative to more than 2,800 food stores across the UK in a scheme that will divert all its food store waste – more than 34,000 tonnes – away from landfill each year.

The system sees waste segregated at store level, before collection and delivery to distribution depots by The Co-operative’s Logistics Service.

Waste management specialist Biffa then sorts all waste into categories which either go on to generate biogas energy, produce fuel or are recycled to create new goods and products.

The company says the scheme also knocks thousands of miles off the distribution network, cutting more than 225,000 skip collections from food stores every year.

David Roberts, director of trading property, The Co-operative Food, said: “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.

“We needed a robust, but commercially viable, strategy to meet our own tough targets. 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 UK’s Waste & Resources Action Programme (WRAP) has worked alongside The Co-operative in an advisory role during trials for the project. Marcus Gover, director of closed loop economy at WRAP, said: “We are supportive of this project and commend them on introducing this scheme across all their stores.”

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