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The Co-operative Group aims to divert all food waste from landfill by summer

All food waste from The Co-operative’s stores in the UK is to be diverted from landfill, the retailer says.

The Co-operative’s food waste initiative will be expanded from 1,500 to 2,800 stores by the summer, which it said will prevent 34,000 tonnes of food waste from going to landfill every year.

The system involves food waste separation in stores, before collection and delivery by The Co-operative’s Logistics Service to its distribution depots. Waste management specialists, Biffa, deal with the waste at the depots.

The retailer said its initiative will halve its food waste management costs and significantly reduce road miles travelled, resulting in fewer carbon emissions.

The Co-operative said it will minimise the use of incineration by sending 64% waste and flowers to anaerobic digestion (AD) and 15% of food packaging waste and till receipts to a MRF. This will leave 21% of “general and customer waste” to be sent to energy from waste.

David Roberts, director of trading property, The Co-operative Food, said: “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.”

He said the project by which haulage vehicles returned from deliveries carrying waste instead of running empty was 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,” he added.

Marcus Gover, director of closed loop economy for WRAP, which has advised The Co-operative during the trials, said: “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.”

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