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UK Grocer Waitrose Achieves Zero Food Waste

UK grocer Waitrose said it has achieved its aim of sending zero food waste to landfill two months earlier than planned. The supermarket initially set the goal for the end of 2012, but all 280 of its UK branches will send food waste that is unfit for consumption for recycling beginning this week.  

Waitrose was the first supermarket in the UK to send food waste to anaerobic digestion (AD) in 2008 for conversion to biogas. The company is also using in-vessel composting (IVC) where AD is not an option. 

Since July, Waitrose also has been working to enable all of its branches to donate surplus food within their local communities. This is in addition to initiatives to reduce food waste by using damaged fruit and vegetables in its Partner dining rooms, and promoting weather-damaged produce to its customers in support of British farmers.

Waste management company Cawleys has provided waste collection and AD to Waitrose since 2008, and now will expand to managing food waste for John Lewis stores. The John Lewis Partnership is an employee-owned coop that owns the Waitrose and John Lewis brands.

Competitor Marks & Spencer announced earlier this week that it too will begin sending food waste for conversion to biogas via AD. A Glasgow facility co-owned by Shanks Group and Energen Biogas will burn the biogas to generate electricity. Marks & Spencer has signed a power purchase agreement for 19,000 MWh — enough to power 33 of its Simply Food stores.

In related news, John Lewis stores are among those participating in a new government-funded program to evaluate low-carbon commercial vehicles 

@Bart_King is a freelance writer and communications consultant.


Bart King is the principal of New Growth Communications, a network of affiliated content producers and strategists serving clients in the emerging green economy. He is also an associate editor for Sustainable Brands. Follow him @bart_kingGoogle+

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