Waitrose has achieved its aim of sending zero food waste to landfill, with the announcement that all 280 of its UK branches will send food waste which is unfit for consumption for recycling from this week.
The supermarket initially set itself the goal of achieving this by the end of 2012, but has done so three months earlier than planned.
Waitrose was the first supermarket in the UK to send food waste to Anaerobic Digestion (AD) in 2008 through its award winning partnership with Cawleys, a Luton-based resource management company, and this achievement signals its continued investment in sustainable resource management.
The move follows Waitrose announcement in July this year that it is also enabling all of its branches to donate surplus food within their local community by the end of the year. Waitrose has also cut food waste through campaigns such as using damaged fruit and vegetables in its partner dining rooms, and promoting weather-damaged produce to its customers in support of British farmers.
Cawleys, which was the first waste management company in Britain to offer a commercial food waste recycling service to AD, the ‘gold standard’ in food recycling technology, will continue to utilise AD as a sustainable alternative to landfill for all Waitrose branches in the UK, alongside the use of In Vessel Composting (IVC) where AD is not an option.
Working with the wider John Lewis Partnership, the Cawleys team will also increasingly manage the food waste for John Lewis stores.
Waitrose recycling and waste manager, Mike Walters, said: “Of course it’s not in our interest to produce any food waste at all, which is why we work hard to minimise it in the first instance. Inevitably we generate some surplus food, and where it is not fit to be donated to the local community, AD has proven to be a sustainable way of eliminating the need to send it to landfill, reducing our impact on the environment and creating renewable energy along the way. It is an exciting time for the company as we extend our work with Cawleys to our remaining UK shops, helping us achieve our target of zero food to landfill.”