Food retailer The Co-operative Group has pledged to divert all waste away from landfill from more than 2,800 of its stores in the UK.
It is rolling out a new recycling scheme, which aims to recycle, convert into energy or reuse more than 34,000 tonnes of food store waste every year.
Food waste, which makes up 64% of the total waste, will be used for anaerobic digestion to generate biogas, 15% dry mixed recycling will be sent to a materials recovery facility and 21% general and customer waste to a refuse derived fuel facility, which shreds and dehydrates solid waste to produce fuel.
The scheme is also expected to end more than 225,000 skip collections from food stores every year and halve The Co-operative’s food waste management costs.
David Roberts, Director of Trading Property at The Co-operative Food said: “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.
“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 initiative has already been introduced in around 1,500 of its food stores and is now being rolled out to its entire food store chain. The company claims it has already cut the waste it generates by 37% since 2006 – saving almost 50,000 tonnes a year.