Innovative Company to Fund Recycling Program & Use the Recycled Materials for Food Packaging

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Marks & Spencer (M&S) may not be a familiar company to those outside of Britain or Europe, but it is no small business. It sells clothing, home and furniture goods, electronics, and food in 30 countries. It has 560 stores in the UK and 130 more worldwide.

Why would you care about this?

Well, M&S is on track to start one of the most innovative recycling systems in the world. It will fund a new curbside (kerbside, if you are British) recycling program and will use the recycled materials for its own food products. Closed-loop — that’s what this kind of full-cycle system is called.

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M&S’s just announced that it will “invest £1.25m over five years in a deal with Somerset County Council that will see it part-fund the kerbside collection of plastics and cardboard. Marks & Spencer will then use some of the collected recyclable material, with the excess being sold on to other packaging producers,” Tom Young of Business Green reports.

The company expects to make three more similar deals with other municipalities in the coming year. In total, it says that its program will result in an additional 60,000 tons of recyclable material being recycled every year by 2015.

“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,” Helene Roberts, head of packaging at Marks & Spencer, said. “We are tackling this problem by providing funding directly to the people who can make a difference – local authorities.”

M&S is a true leader in sustainability and green packaging. It has already achieved more than most companies are aiming for and has goals to bring it to an even higher level. Tom Young reports:

“Marks & Spencer has made packaging and waste a central component of its high-profile Plan A sustainability strategy and has already cut food packaging levels 16 per cent since 2007, while more than 90 per cent of its packaging is now classified as recyclable.

The strategy also features commitments to stop sending waste to landfill from UK and Republic of Ireland operations, reduce use of packaging and carriers bags and use packaging materials from sustainable or recycled sources.”

Image Credit: jovike via flickr under a CC license


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Zachary Shahan

Zach is tryin' to help society help itself one word at a time. He spends most of his time here on CleanTechnica as its director, chief editor, and CEO. Zach is recognized globally as an electric vehicle, solar energy, and energy storage expert. He has presented about cleantech at conferences in India, the UAE, Ukraine, Poland, Germany, the Netherlands, the USA, Canada, and Curaçao. Zach has long-term investments in Tesla [TSLA], NIO [NIO], Xpeng [XPEV], Ford [F], ChargePoint [CHPT], Amazon [AMZN], Piedmont Lithium [PLL], Lithium Americas [LAC], Albemarle Corporation [ALB], Nouveau Monde Graphite [NMGRF], Talon Metals [TLOFF], Arclight Clean Transition Corp [ACTC], and Starbucks [SBUX]. But he does not offer (explicitly or implicitly) investment advice of any sort.

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