Tesco finds way to divert all waste away from landfill

Posted by James Ferre on 4th August 2009

Tesco, the UK’s largest retailer, has begun diverting 100 per cent of the waste produced by its entire UK business away from landfill. It has achieved the target one year ahead of schedule.
Methane gas from landfill sites is significantly more damaging to the environment than carbon emissions, Tesco advised, and three years ago the retailer committed to find ways of diverting all of its waste from landfill by 2010. This week, its entire estate of 2,315 UK stores as well as distribution centres and offices achieved that goal.

“Climate change is the biggest challenge facing us today and businesses such as Tesco have a responsibility to provide leadership,” Tesco Executive Director Lucy Neville-Rolfe said. “As well as research and development, improving our own operations and helping customers to make easy, green choices are the best way to combat climate change.”

New technologies such as innovative ways of turning waste into materials such as fuel and fertilizer have enabled Tesco to achieve its diversion target early with support from their waste services partner (Severnside Recycling). The alternative energy that waste can produce may allow countries to depend less on fossil fuels in the future, the retailer noted.

Some examples of the moves made to divert waste:
• Re-using waste meat to generate fuel through a third-party plant which goes back into the national grid as electricity – at present, 5,000 tonnes of waste meat generate c. 2,500 mega watt hours of renewable electricity.
• Turning recycled carrier bags into refuse bags
• Recycling used cardboard boxes to make new ones which are returned to store with new products within 14 days.
• Waste from the south east of England is transformed into Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) through a third-party plant.