Tesco has achieved its goal of diverting from landfills 100 percent of waste from its UK operations. This comes about a year ahead of schedule, according to a press release.
The retailer generates 531,000 tons of waste a year in the UK. Of that, 385,000 tons are recycled, with the balance diverted from landfill by other methods.
The waste diversion is enabled by new technologies and methods for turning waste into materials such as fuel and fertilizer. Tesco’s waste services partner is Severnside Recycling.
Here are some of the ways Tesco, which has 2,315 stores in the UK, is diverting its 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 tons of waste meat generates about 2,500 megawatt 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 stores in the southeast of England is transformed into Solid Recovered Fuel (SRF) through a third-party plant.
Methods of diverting the waste include: material recovery facilities (MRF); in vessel composting (IVC); anaerobic digestion (AD); mechanical biological treatment ((MBT); mechanical heat treatment (MHT) and energy from waste (EfW).
While there are no official targets for businesses, the UK government has directed local authorities to reduce waste they send to landfills 45 percent by 2020, compared to 2000.
Despite its success, Tesco was criticized by vegetarian groups for using its waste meat to generate power.
Vegetarians International Voice for Animals (Viva) says that consumers should be informed if any of their home electricity is being generated by the recycling process, reports The Telegraph.