Asda pioneers zero waste to landfill

19 September 2006

Asda has stopped sending non-hazardous waste to landfill from its first site after signing up to a zero waste to landfill target by 2010.

Speaking to yesterday, the supermarket giant revealed that the Dartford distribution centre in Kent is recycling and composting all of its material, "down to the chicken fat in the canteen."

Asda's Wakefield recycling facility
Now Asda expects to meet its target, which it launched in July, in under two years. It will also redesign all of its products over the next 18 months to reduce packaging volume by at least 10%.

Ian Bowles, Asda's corporate social responsibility manager, said: "We wanted to concentrate on boosting recycling and composting at one centre which we could replicate around the country. In Dartford it's going really well. We will now probably achieve our target by 2008."

As part of Asda's commitment to zero waste, the supermarket has invested £32 million in four recycling facilities at Lutterworth, Wakefield, Skelmersdale and Bedford.

This enables Asda's fleet of delivery trucks to collect cardboard and plastic packaging from the back of stores, which is baled and sent for reprocessing to Smurfit and J& A Young.

Food waste is sent for in-vessel composting, while photographic chemicals are collected to recover the precious metals contained in them, such as silver. Two million litres of waste oil fats are also sent by Asda for biodiesel production.

Mr Bowles said: "We're opening our fifth recycling facility in Falkirk on November 13, and then we've more or less got the whole country covered. We've already reduced our waste from 140,000 tonnes five years ago to 90,000 tonnes this year, and it makes sense to look at sustainable alternatives to landfill."

The Dartford site is currently being upgraded with an in-vessel composting facility, which should be operational in the next month.