Morrisons to launch 6 ‘zero waste’ stores in UK in push to recycle all packaging by 2025

The supermarket will trial the initiative in six Edinburgh stores, with plans for a wider rollout across the UK if successful

Morrisons has announced plans to launch six ‘zero waste’ stores which aim to recycle all packaging and unsold food by 2025.

The supermarket hopes the initiative, which will first be trialled in Edinburgh ahead of a UK-wide rollout, will encourage rival retailers to follow suit.

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At a glance: 5 key points

- The supermarket will introduce recycling points for customers for products that are not usually collected on bin days, such as wrappers, empty crisp packets and face masks.

- Bosses have confirmed if trials in six stores in Edinburgh are successful, the format will be rolled out across all 498 supermarkets in the UK over the next year.

- The trials are in partnership with Nestle as both organisations will work together to collect and recycle all soft-plastics for the first time in the UK, meaning no waste will be exported to other countries for processing.

- All of the store waste will be sorted by Morrisons staff in store rooms which will comprise of soft and hard plastics, cardboard, food waste, green waste, PPE, tins, cans and foils.

- The supermarket has confirmed its Too Good To Go app, where surplus food is sold at huge discounts, will offer more unsold goods in order to combat food waste. Surplus food will also be distributed to local communities. 

What’s been said?

Morrisons aims to be the UK’s first zero-waste supermarket as Jamie Winter, sustainability procurement director at Morrisons, stated: “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%.”

He added: “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 recycling charity Wrap, highlights the important role big supermarket chains play in reducing the amount of plastic waste.

“Plastic bags and wrappers make up nearly a quarter of all plastic packaging that we use in our daily lives, yet only 6% is recycled,” she said.

“Until we have consistent and comprehensive household collections across the nations, supermarkets play a critical role to enable customers to recycle key items not collected at home.”

In 2017, Morrisons ditched using plastic bags replacing them with paper ones. Since then the supermarket has reduced its own-brand plastic packaging by 8,000 tonnes.

Morrison bosses hope their eco-friendly plans will spur on other supermarkets to act on reducing their levels of packaging and waste.

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