Coles and waste and recycling services company Cleanaway have launched an organics recovery facility in Brisbane to convert food waste into nutrient-rich compost, the first of its kind in Queensland.
The technology used is capable of separating food from its packaging and will process inedible or out-of-date food from 111 Queensland Coles supermarkets, to create compost for farms, gardens and parks out of waste that would otherwise have gone to landfill.
Coles chief sustainability, property and export officer Thinus Keevé said the new recycling facility will help Coles reduce food waste and provide Queensland businesses with a new sustainable organics diversion solution.
The facility is capable of diverting up to 20,000 tonnes of waste from landfill per year, which is the equivalent to filling 20 Olympic-sized swimming pools. If sent to landfill, the waste diverted would create 42,000 tonnes of CO2-emissions, the equivalent of 17,365 vehicles on the road, Coles said.
The depackaging technology has been installed in the Brisbane facility as part of a long-term food waste reduction partnership between Coles and Cleanaway, with 417 Coles stores across Australia already utilising other packaged organics recycling technologies.
Cleanaway regional manager for Queensland Hugo Parris said: “Food waste is a highly valuable resource and having the commitment from a business of Coles’ size means we can invest in this technology and recover material that would otherwise have been destined for landfill.”
Keevé said Coles was committed to food waste reduction and circular economy investment. “In FY20, we diverted 65 per cent of our food waste from landfill, and we have existing partnerships with food rescue organisations, farmers and wildlife services.”
The depackaging unit has started operating and accepts food and liquid that cannot be sold including meat offcuts, bakery items, packaged food and drinks and pet food.