Supermarket chain Morrisons has targeted “zero waste” and announced several new green measures, including a recycling partnership with global brand Nestle.
Whether or not a complete elimination of waste is possible, Morrisons’ efforts – beginning with six trial stores in Edinburgh – represent an ambition by the retailer to improve waste management processes and significantly enhance its recycling capability.
The trial will incorporate a unique recycling partnership with Nestle which involves collecting and recycling all ‘difficult-to-recycle’ soft plastics. Morrisons has also committed to all waste collected in its stores being recycled in the UK to avoid the need to export materials for overseas processing.
Shop waste, including soft and hard plastics, cardboard, food waste, green waste, PPE, tins, cans and foils, will be sorted by staff in the warehouse, then collected by a range of specialist waste partners.
Customer waste such as confectionery wrappers and pet food pouches, hard plastics such as yoghurt tubs, mixed materials like crisp tubes and coffee pods, and specialist products like ink cartridges and batteries, will be collected at new dedicated collection points situated in the participating stores’ foyers, before recycling takes place.
Jamie Winter, sustainability procurement director at Morrisons, said: “We’re not going to reach our ambitious targets through incremental improvements alone.
“Sometimes you need to take giant steps and we believe that waste is one of those areas. We believe that we can, at a stroke, enable these trial stores to move from recycling around 27% of their general waste to over 84% and with a clear line of sight to 100%.”
He added: “We all need to see waste as a resource to be repurposed and reused. The technology, creativity and will exists – it’s a question of harnessing the right process for the right type of waste and executing it well.”
Commenting on the recycling partnership, Alison Bramfitt, group packaging manager at Nestle UK & Ireland, said: “At Nestle, we’re dedicated to driving a more circular system by reducing our use of virgin plastics by one third, and ensuring all of our packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2025.
In addition to packaging and product waste, more unsold food in the six Morrisons stores will be offered to customers on a budget through the Too Good to Go app and its ‘Magic Bags’. Where surplus food arises, Morrisons aims to redistribute it within its communities.
Morrisons said it will repurpose all of the other waste it collects, turning it into other useful products. Meanwhile, bread waste which is not fit for human consumption will be turned into animal feed, and cooking oil will be turned into biodiesel to power Morrisons trucks.
If successful, the so-called ‘zero waste’ concept will be rolled out to Morrisons’ 498 stores across the UK.
Morrisons’ Scottish capital stores – in Edinburgh Hunters Tryst, Moredun, Ferry Road, South Gyle, Granton, and Livingston – are the trial sites for the initiative.
[Image credit: Green Retail World]