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Morrisons trials ‘zero waste’ stores in Edinburgh

Targeting waste: new facilities for consumers

Morrisons has announced that its six supermarkets in Edinburgh will become “zero waste” stores in a pilot scheme which aims to recycle all packaging and unsold food by 2025.

The company will also introduce recycling points for customers to deposit a range of unwanted items from crisp packets to face masks.

If the scheme is successful it will be introduced to all of its 498 outlets across the UK.

Morrisons is working win partnership with confectionery group Nestle as it aims to recycle soft plastic in the UK instead of sending it overseas for processing.

Store waste will be sorted by staff in storage rooms, including soft and hard plastics, cardboard, food waste, green waste, PPE, tins, cans and foils.


Morrison said it will also offer more unsold goods through its Too Good To Go app, where surplus food is sold at a discount. More will be distributed to the needy in local communities.

Jamie Winter, sustainability procurement director at Morrisons, said: “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%.

“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.”

Waste campaigners say plastic bags and wrappers make up nearly a quarter of all plastic packaging, yet only 6% is recycled and supermarkets will play a critical role in enabling customers to recycle key items not collected at home.

Morrisons said it has already reduced own-brand plastic packaging by 8,000 tonnes since 2017 and aims to cut operational food waste by half by 2030. This supports the UN target as well as WRAP’s Courtauld 2025 Commitment to reduce food and drink waste arising in the UK by 20%.

In April the company was the first of the big supermarket chains to ditch plastic bags in favour of paper ones and says that minimising waste every day makes commercial sense.

“To support producers we adjust our specifications when weather conditions lead to poor harvests and following customer feedback we have introduced a range of ‘wonky’ vegetables, such as parsnips, carrots and onions, which are cheaper in price and give customers the choice on which they want to buy.”

It has a nationwide Unsold Food to Charity Programme in its stores. This allows community organisations to partner with its stores to ensure edible surplus gets put to good use.

Morrisons was a founder member of the UK Plastics Pact, a collaborative commitment which joins up all stakeholders in the plastics system – businesses, government, local authorities, environmental organisations, and the wider public to ensure that all plastic packaging will be recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

It is encouraging big-name brands to do more to reduce their own levels of packaging.

Tesco launches trial in England

Tesco is to trial its zero-waste shopping service at 10 stores in the East of England.

Common household goods will be available in packaging that can be returned to the store to be re-used.

This follows a year-long online pilot where customers could order products and return packaging from their doorsteps.

The trial aims to meet demand for less single-use plastic packaging.

However, regular versions of the sample products using single-use packaging, including plastic, cardboard, glass and TetraPak-style cartons, will continue to be available at the stores.

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