Morrisons trials zero waste format stores in Edinburgh

Morrisons is launching its six zero waste format stores in Edinburgh, which will have the ability to operate with zero waste by 2025.

Shop waste – comprise soft and hard plastics, cardboard, food waste, green waste, PPE, plus tins, cans and foils – will be sorted by staff in the warehouse, then collected by specialist waste partners for recycling in the UK.

Customer waste – including hard-to-recycle soft plastics, hard plastics, mixed materials like crisp tubes and coffee pods, and specialist products like ink cartridges and batteries – will be collected at new dedicated collection points situated in store foyers, before being collected for recycling.

In addition, more unsold food in these ‘zero waste’ stores will be offered to customers on a budget through the Too Good to Go app and its ‘Magic Bags’. Morrisons stores will also work with a range of partners to redistribute surplus food within its communities.

If successful, the ‘zero waste’ store format will be rolled out to all of Morrisons 498 stores across the UK over the next year. In the longer term, Morrisons aims to recycle all of the waste it creates across all its stores by 2025.

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% of their general waste to over 84% and with a clear line of sight to 100%.

“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.”

Helen Bird, Strategic Technical Manager at WRAP, said: “It’s encouraging to see Morrisons initiating collection of this material to enable people to recycle it ahead of it being collected directly from their homes in years to come. We look forward to seeing the results of the trial and hope it’s rolled out across all larger stores in the near future.”

Morrisons will repurpose all of the waste it collects to turn it into other useful products. Hard-to-recycle soft plastic will be turned into new eco board products in the UK, bread waste which is not fit for human consumption will be turned into animal feed, and cooking oil will be turned into biodiesel to power Morrisons trucks.