M&S to buy council waste

High street retailer Marks and Spencer is to work with local authorities to reduce their waste in what the chain has called a 'pioneering' agreement.

Its first partnership will see M&S spend £1.25m, over five years, in a deal with Somerset County Council.

The cash will be used to add plastics and cardboard to the materials it already collects from homes across its five district councils.

M&S will then either reuse the material itself or sell it to other packaging producers for them to recycle.

The retailer believes every year approximately 15,000 tonnes of waste will be diverted back into food packaging and reused by M&S, with another 45,000 tonnes sold to the other unnamed producers.

Three other similar partnerships are set to be announced later in the year, including one with Kent which is in ‘advanced talks’ with the retailer.

Marks & Spencer’s head of packaging, Dr Helene Roberts, said: “This is a pioneering project we believe will change the face of recycling in the UK.

“We’ve achieved a 16% reduction in food packaging and over 90% is now recyclable.

“In order that we move to the next level, which is making more of our packaging with recycled content, we need more materials at a higher quality collected at the kerbside and made available to our suppliers.”

Luke Walsh

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