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Coles is making serious moves to eliminate all waste going to landfill


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The brand is trialling a zero waste strategy in an effort to become Australia's most sustainable supermarket.

At this stage, the trial is taking place in one location. And in case you're looking to run out and support the initiative, the supermarket in question is the one in Wentworth Point in Sydney's West. And support it we should because the "zero waste to landfill" strategy will prevent the equivalent of six and a half shopping trolleys full of paper, plastic, food and timber from going to landfill each day.

So how does it all work? Well, the trial will focus on in-store processes, putting greater attention on source separation. Also, Coles is going to partner with new facilities to find ways to transform any waste that is produced into a resource. One of these is Cleanaway, a company that uses dry waste to produce Process Engineered Fuel (PEF), which is a replacement for fossil fuel. So, all Coles' non-recyclables could be turned into an oil-and-coal-busting sustainable source of energy. Pretty cool huh?

Cleanaway regional manager Alex Hatherley said: "This is a great solution for Coles stores that produce high volumes of mixed back-of-house plastics but want to achieve a zero waste to landfill goal."

"Our facility is unique in its ability to divert commercial dry waste from landfill, recover recyclable materials and then convert the remaining combustibles to a sustainable fuel source, PEF."

General manager of Cleanaway ResourceCo Wetherill Park Doug Elliss added: "We're playing a key role in Australia's future sustainable energy mix by reducing waste that would otherwise go to landfill and lowering carbon emissions through production of a commercially viable sustainable fuel."

Some of the other key partnerships involved in the zero waste to landfill plan are with Secondbite and Foodbank, partnerships that are already in place at many Coles supermarkets. Last financial year, Coles donated 12.5 million kilos of unsold, edible food to these organisations. So, these continued relationships will be a key part of continuing on the road to zero waste to landfill.

Thinus Keeve, Coles' chief property and export officer, said: "But there is always more that we can do. Everything we can't give to SecondBite we want to give to farmers to feed their animals, recycle into compost or convert to energy."

"We were the first Australian supermarket to offer REDcycle plastic recycling in every store. We were the first Australian supermarket to sign a renewable energy PPA, which will see Coles sourcing 10 per cent of its national energy needs from three solar farms in regional NSW."

"We are now the first Australian supermarket to attempt a zero waste to landfill store. Coles is passionate about driving generational sustainability with innovation that reduces environmental impact."

The trial comes off the back of Coles' first Sustainability Report, which revealed the company plans to divert 90% of its waste away from landfill by 2022. Hip hip hooray! Here's hoping the zero waste to landfill rolls out across more stores as soon as possible!

Check out more stories about sustainability and how you can get involved at Green Finder.

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