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Sainsburys achieves zero waste to landfill


Supermarket giant Sainsburys has revealed that it has achieved its aim to divert all of the waste from its stores away from landfill, seven years ahead of its 2020 target date.

The retailer announced in its trading results published yesterday (June 12) that it had met the goal, which it set out in its 20×20 sustainability plan, launched in October 2011 (see story).

Sainsburys works primarily with waste and recycling firm Biffa, which collects and treats organic and dry waste on behalf of the chain. Waste is backhauled from larger stores, while Biffa collects material directly from convenience stores in towns and cities.

Edible food waste is donated to food distribution charity FareShare, while bakery waste products that are not suitable for human consumption are processed into high energy biscuit meals for animal feed for pigs and cows. Meanwhile, Biffa treats any remaining food waste through anaerobic digestion, at plants such as its 120,000 tonnes per year capacity Poplars AD facility in Staffordshire.

Sainsburys claims to be the largest retail user of AD in the UK, and has also invested in organic waste recycling firm Tamar Energy, which plans to build a network of up to 44 AD sites across the UK. Any dry waste that cannot be recycled is disposed of via energy from waste.


Commenting on the achievement Sainsburys chief executive Justin King, said: Were very proud of hitting our target for zero waste to landfill which we set three years ago. We know times are tough for many customers but they still rightly expect Sainsburys to lead the way on the things that will matter to all of us including caring for our environment.

A spokeswoman for Biffa also welcomed the announcement. She said: Biffa is delighted that its customer Sainsburys is now sending zero waste to landfill. The two companies have been working in partnership since 2005, developing sustainable solutions for the thousands of Sainsburys stores across the UK.

In 2008 Sainsburys set out to recycle more, adding to the existing schemes for cardboard and plastic. Within five years this ambition, combined with Biffas know-how and national network of facilities, has resulted in the complete diversion of waste from landfill.

The retailer was also the first UK supermarket chain to change labelling on frozen products, advising consumers to freeze food up to a products use by date rather than on the day of purchase. Sainsburys estimates that the measure has potentially prevented up to 400,000 tonnes of edible food from being discarded each year.


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