In its mission to become Australia’s most sustainable supermarket, Coles is currently trialling a zero waste to landfill approach in its Wentworth Point store in Sydney’s west.
The trial is the first of its kind in the country and aims to prevent the equivalent of 6.5 shopping trolleys full of waste going to landfill each day.
“Waste management is a key component of the sustainability of any business and reducing waste is a very important issue for our customers,” says Coles Chief Property and Export Officer Thinus Keeve.
The trial aims to change in-store processes, put greater focus on source separation, and partner with new facilities to use waste as a resource.
This will mean more packaged and unpackaged food, cardboard, plastic, metal, glass, wax boxes, polystyrene and timber will be diverted from landfill.
The team at Coles Wentworth Point.
“Everyone knows Australia has challenges in how we deal with our waste. That goes for everyone from households sorting their recycling to businesses like Coles,” says Thinus.
“Coles is passionate about driving generational sustainability with innovation that reduces environmental impact. We all have a responsibility to play our part.”
Waste from the Wentworth Point store will be delivered to the Cleanaway ResourceCo Recovery Facility in Wetherill Park, which uses dry waste to produce a sustainable fuel source called Process Engineered Fuel.
This is then used to offset the demands of heavy industry for fossil fuels.
The ground-breaking trial comes after Coles Group released its first Sustainability Report as a stand-alone publicly listed company, which outlines its commitment to reducing its environmental impact.
This includes working towards diverting 90% of waste from landfill by 2022.
By partnering with food rescue services Secondbite and Foodbank, Coles supermarkets and distribution centres donated 12.5 million kilograms of unsold edible food in the last financial year.
That’s the equivalent of 25 million meals for people in need.
“Many supermarkets also provide food waste directly to farmers to use as animal feed,” explains Thinus.
“These stores across our Coles network donated 13.8 million kilograms to farmers last financial year, an increase of 11%.
“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.”
Coles was also the first Australian supermarket to offer REDcycle plastic recycling in every store, and the first to sign a renewable energy PPA, which will see it sourcing 10% of its national energy needs from three solar farms in regional New South Wales.