Waitrose off-grid drive branches out with waste wood

Waitrose has announced plans to open a third energy centre next year powered by waste wood in a pioneering closed loop model.

Whereas the previous two centres are fuelled by locally sourced woodchip biomass, this one will utilise feedstock primarily from two key waste streams generated by the retailer's business operations - wooden pallets and used bedding materials.

Mike Walters, recycling & waste operations manager for Waitrose, part of the John Lewis Group, said using its own waste to fuel the plant was part of the company's drive to reduce carbon emissions by 15% by the end of the 2020-21 trading year.

"We are looking to power more of our business off-grid from wood waste, used cooking oil and rotisserie fat," he said.

John Lewis currently offers a customer takeback service for used beds and mattresses which are taken for recycling. Whereas high value materials like cotton can be recovered from the process, the lower value of wood presents more of a problem for reprocessors.

"We generate around 100 tonnes a month of waste wood from the beds we collect, but can use this now to power our new energy centre," said Walters.

Walters, who was speaking at the Resource & Waste Management show in Birmingham today, added that the company was also looking into the feasibility of generating biofuel for its vehicles from used rotisserie fat in its kitchens and deli counters.

Maxine Perella


biomass | waste wood | retail


Waste & resource management
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