Morrisons is launching a move towards what it claims will be the UK’s first six ‘zero waste’ stores, which will have the ability to operate with zero waste by 2025 - either from the store itself or from the customers who shop there.
The retailer said that if successful, the ‘zero waste’ format, trialled in Edinburgh, will be rolled out to all of Morrisons' 498 stores across the UK over the next year. It also aims to recycle all of the waste it creates across its stores by 2025.
The trial will incorporate a partnership with Nestlé to collect and recycle all ‘hard-to-recycle’ soft plastics for the first time in the UK. All waste collected in the stores will be recycled in this country to avoid the need to export materials to be processed overseas.
Shop waste will comprise soft and hard plastics, cardboard, food waste, green waste and PPE, as well as tins, cans and foils. These items will be sorted by staff in the warehouse, before being collected by a range of specialist waste partners for recycling in the UK.
Customer waste will include hard-to-recycle soft plastics like confectionery wrappers and pet food pouches, hard plastics such as yoghurt tubs, mixed materials like crisp tubes and coffee pods, specialist products like ink cartridges and batteries, and previously un-recycled items such as foils and plant pots.
It will be collected for recycling at new dedicated collection points situated in Morrisons ‘zero waste’ store foyers.
Reducing food waste
In addition to packaging and product waste, more unsold food in the 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 said its stores will also work with a range of partners to redistribute it within local communities.
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 per cent of their general waste to over 84 per cent and with a clear line of sight to 100 per cent.
“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. And all waste collected in our stores will be recycled here in the UK - we will not reprocess anything abroad. If we’re successful, we’ll roll this zero waste store concept out across the UK as fast as we can.”