British supermarket the Co-operative Group is to recycle all of its food waste at anaerobic digestion facilities which produce biogas for energy generation, as well as fertiliser.
According to the company, its waste back-haul initiative has already been rolled out across 1500 of its stores, and all will now be implemented across all 2800 of its stores, reducing landfill, operating costs and transport miles.
The retailer explained that its back-haul system involves waste being segregated at store level, before collection and delivery by its own Logistics Service to its distribution depots.
From there, waste management firm, Biffa, will deal with the waste as follows:Waste food and flowers go to anaerobic digestion to produce biogas (64% of the total) Customer and general waste go to a refuse-derived fuel facility, which shreds and dehydrates solid waste to produce fuel (15% of the total) 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 those materials which can be recycled (21% of the total).
The company added that cardboard and polythene will continue to be baled and sent for recycling.
In addition, the Co-operative claimed that the scheme will knock thousands of miles off the distribution network, end more than 225,000 skip collections from food stores every year and halve its food waste management costs.
The food retailer, the UK’s fifth largest, added that it worked with
The Waste and Resource Action Programme (WRAP) worked alongside the retailer in an advisory role during the trials for the waste back-hauling project.
“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,” explained Marcus Gover, director of closed loop economy at WRAP.
“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,” he added.
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