A Coles store in Sydney will be the first to trial sending zero waste to landfill, as it aims to prevent the equivalent of six and a half trolleys going to the tip each day.

The Wentworth Point supermarket will change its in-store processes by putting focus on source separation and finding new ways to recover difficult to divert materials, such as mixed plastic and timber, as Coles partners with Cleanaway to turn the waste into energy.

Based in Wetherill Park, the Cleanaway ResourceCo Recovery Facility (RRF) uses dry waste to produce Process Engineered Fuel (PEF), which is then used to offset the demands of heavy industry for fossil fuels.

“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,” said Alex Hatherley, Cleanaway regional manager for Solid Waste Services NSW.

“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.”

The trial follows Coles recent sustainability report results, including its 32 per cent increase in soft plastic recycling during the 2019 financial year, as well as partnerships with food rescue services Secondbite and Foodbank.

“Through our supermarkets and distribution centres we donated 12.5 million kilograms of unsold edible food to SecondBite and Foodbank last financial year – the equivalent of 25 million meals for people in need,” said Coles chief property and export officer Thinus Keeve.

“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.”

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