Major retailer The Co-Operative Group has announced that it will divert all food waste away from its stores from landfill.
It has more than 2,800 food stores and will extend its waste back-haul initiative to meet its goal.
Around 34,000 tonnes of food waste will predominantly be sent to be treated by anaerobic digestion.
So far, 1,500 stores have the scheme in place, and the remainder should have its introduced over the summer.
The scheme involves waste being segregated at store level before collection and delivery by The Co-Operative’s Logistics Services to its distribution depots.
From there, Biffa takes the food waste to treat it at anaerobic digestion plants, customer and general waste is used as a refuse derived fuel and dry mixed items are recycled.
Cardboard and polythene will continue to be baled and send for recycling.
As a result of the scheme, The Co-operative’s food waste management costs will be halved.
The Co-operative Food director of trading property David Roberts 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 diver all our food waste from landfill by the end of 2013, which we will achieve by the end of July – five months ahead of schedule.
“The Co-Operative has one of the largest and most complex networks of all food retailers in the UK and we therefore needed a robust, but commercially viable strategy to meet our own tough targets.
“However, 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 waste back-haul project is a win-win solution. It will not only divert all our food waste away from landfill, but will also convert it into a valuable resource, which we believe sets new standards in waste management.”