Co-op to introduce food recycling scheme to nearly 3,000 stores

The Co-operative has backed itself to divert all food-store waste from landfill by the end of July through a huge roll out of its waste-back-hall initiative. reports that over 2,800 Co-op food stores across Britain will adopt a system that maximises recycling and anaerobic digestion processes, prevented the chain from dumping around 34,000 tonnes of waste into landfill every year.

This largely consists of waste food and flowers (64 per cent) along with customer and general waste (21 per cent), while dry mixed items such as empty milk bottles, tins, cans and office paper (15 per cent) will now go through dedicated recycling facilities.

The retailer had introduced its initiative to 1,500 stores in an attempt to divert all food waste from landfill by the end of the year. Following a successful trial period, the group has stepped up its zero waste drive and shaved five months off the initial target. says the added stores will be required to segregate their food waste on site, before collection and delivery by Co-op’s own logistics service. Thousands of tonnes of waste are then passed on to designated warehouses, who will need to ensure they have their warehouse management systems geared up to deal with the extra deliveries.

According to Co-op’s director of trading property David Roberts, the scheme will also shave thousands of miles off the company’s distribution network by cutting more than 225,000 skip collections from food stores each year.

He added: “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. The waste back-haul project is a win-win solution.”