Morrisons becomes ‘first supermarket’ to own recycling centre

Morrisons is thought to be the first supermarket to own a recycling centre after buying a “significant stake” in a Fife site.

The hub will create 60 jobs and, once built, will turn 15,000 tonnes of soft plastics into new products every year.

It will reuse crisp packets and chocolate wrappers, among other flexible materials, from Morrisons’ warehouse in Bellshill.

Soft plastics are notoriously hard to recycle and are accepted by just a fifth of local authorities.

READ MORE: Chickens to ‘suffer in silence’ as Morrisons sacks activist

The centre will also process material collected by Cireco Scotland from organisations including NHS Fife and the University of St Andrews.

“Lots of work has been done by retailers to reduce plastic, but little to recycle what remains,” Morrisons procurement director Jamie Winter said.

“We’re taking on that challenge and making a significant investment in a state-of-the-art soft plastic recycling site. 

“It’ll take problematic plastics, recycle them here in the UK, and give them a new life.”

Major grocers have been encouraged to lead the charge in reusing soft plastics by sustainability charity WRAP.

In May, it called on supermarkets to provide recycling bins for the materials by the end of the year.

WRAP strategic manager Helen Bird called the new centre “very encouraging”.

“We need to get collection services rolled out across the nation – from people’s homes in the future and from supermarkets in the interim,” she added.

“But ensuring the material is actually remanufactured into new products or packaging is key.”

Morrisons said that, by 2025, it will use the centre to recycle the same amount of plastic as it sells.

Iceland recently made a similar target as managing director Richard Walker backed away from its pledge to become “plastic-free” by 2023.

Instead, it will recycle waste that weighs the same as its “residual plastic footprint”.

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