Friday, 31 May 2013

Co-op to recycle all waste from its UK food stores

Food retailer the Co-operative Group is set to divert all waste from its 2,800 UK food stores by the end of July. The firm had pledged to send more than 34,000 tonnes of store food waste per annum for recycling, reuse or energy production by the end of the year, but has now reached that target five months ahead of schedule through its recycling scheme.

The scheme, known as ‘Project Womble’, involves waste being segregated at store level, before collection and delivery to distribution depots. The retailer claims the scheme will also put an end to more than 225,000 skip collections from food stores every year and have its waste management costs.

According to the Co-operative, 64% of its 34,000 tonnes of annual food store waste is food and flowers, which will be sent for energy production through anaerobic digestion. A further 21% is general and customer waste and will be sent to a refuse derived fuel facility and energy recovery.

Meanwhile, dry mixed recycling such as empty milk bottles, tins, cans, office paper and till receipts – which makes up 15% – will be sent for sorting at materials recycling facilities. Cardboard and polythene at stores will continue to be baled and sent for recycling.

UK food waste charity FareShare is also working with the retailer to send surplus foods from distribution depots, such as oversupplies and products with damaged but intact packaging, to disadvantaged people in the community.


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