Waste Not
UK Retailer John Lewis Closing Loop on Plastic Waste

This post first appeared on 2degrees on January 21, 2013.

The John Lewis Partnership has committed to developing a 'closed loop' waste plastics strategy in what is claimed to be a first for a UK retailer.

Liverpool-based recycler Centriforce Products will collect all plastics waste from John Lewis and Waitrose locations each year and recycle them into products such as plastic planks, boards and sheeting. The retailer is exploring how these might be incorporated into its new store construction program to achieve a true 'closed loop' in its plastics waste stream.

The new contract is part of the John Lewis Partnership's strategy to streamline its waste contractors and keep complete control and responsibility for its waste flows, ensuring as much as possible is recycled. Centriforce will collect more than 3,000 tonnes of plastics waste from John Lewis and Waitrose distribution depots, including warehouse packaging and pallet films, as well as used Waitrose 'Bags for Life.'

Mike Walters, recycling and waste operations manager for the John Lewis Partnership said: "We want to be completely transparent in our approach to waste management and ensure that as much as possible is recycled and then reused in our own businesses. We are committed to keeping ownership of our waste all the way to its final destination, rather than selling it to the highest bidder, or losing control over what happens to it.”

The John Lewis Partnership has declared an aspiration to achieve zero waste to landfill with a diversion target of 95% by the end of 2013.

Walters added: "We are working with Centriforce's innovations team to explore ways in which we can reuse more recycled plastic products in our stores in future, especially for new store construction. We already have recycled plastic furniture made by Centriforce outside most of our Waitrose and John Lewis stores. Centriforce planks and posts were also used recently in an employee-led project to build a boardwork through historic woodland close to our Bracknell headquarters."

Centriforce has capacity to recycle more than 20,000 tonnes of plastics waste a year to produce plastic sheets, boards and profiles.

In related waste-elimination news, Waitrose announced in October that all 280 of its UK branches had achieved zero food waste to landfill two months ahead of its end-of-2012 goal.

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