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John Lewis to close plastics loop

The John Lewis Partnership has signed a new contract with Liverpool-based recycler Centriforce Products in a bid to close the loop on its plastics waste.

The contract is part of John Lewis’ strategy to gain control over its waste flows and recycle as much as possible, which has resulted in the reduction of the number of its waste contractors from 30 down to 5.

The retailer has resolved to achieve zero waste to landfill, with a diversion target of 95%, by the end of 2013.

“We want to be completely transparent in our approach to waste management and ensure that as much as possible is recycled and then reused in our own businesses,” said Mike Walters, recycling and waste operations manager for the John Lewis Partnership. 

 “We are committed to keeping ownership of our waste all the way to its final destination, rather than selling it to the highest bidder, or losing control over what happens to it.” 

As a result of the agreement Centriforce, the largest independent plastics recycler, will collect more than 3,000 tonnes of plastics waste from John Lewis and Waitrose distribution centres across the UK each year and transport the waste to its Liverpool manufacturing plant.

Centriforce has worked with John Lewis and Waitrose for five years but this contract means they will recycle all of the partnership’s soft plastics, from warehouse packaging and pallet films to used Waitrose ‘Bags for Life.

The John Lewis Partnership has said it wants to close the loop in its plastics stream by using Centriforce products, such as plastic planks and sheeting ,  in its new store construction push. Walters said he is working with the Centriforce innovation team to explore ways to increase the amount of recycled plastics used in stores in future.

Walters added: “We already have recycled plastic furniture made by Centriforce outside most of our Waitrose and John Lewis stores.  Centriforce planks and posts were also used recently in an employee-led project to build a boardwork through historic woodland close to our Bracknell headquarters.”

Centriforce’s managing director Simon Carroll said: “By working with Centriforce, the John Lewis Partnership can ensure it avoids landfill costs and makes an income from its waste arisings.  Furthermore, it is pioneering closed loop arrangements which provide the perfect demonstration of total waste ownership as well as underpinning the company’s sustainable corporate responsibility.”

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