Solid Waste & Recycling


Tesco launches high-tech waste unit

Tesco is launching what it says is launches Britain's first fully automated recycling machine designed to encourage...

Tesco is launching what it says is launches Britain’s first fully automated recycling machine designed to encourage customers to recycle more of their household waste. The high-tech machine is expected to dramatically increase the amount of waste recycled in the UK.

Based on trials, Tesco believes the new equipment will encourage customers to triple the amount of waste they bring to stores for recycling, providing a huge boost to the environment. The machine takes the hassle out of recycling by automatically sorting the plastic, metal and glass, using the latest technology to process up to 80 items per minute.

Margaret Beckett, Secretary of State for the Environment, Food and Rural Affairs said: “I am delighted to see retailers using their unique position to help encourage their customers to recycle.

"With nine out of ten people saying they would recycle if it was easier to do so, the new Tesco facility will hopefully attract a new generation of recyclers and encourage those who already do to recycle more.”

Tesco Corporate Responsibility Director David North said: “Our customers tell us they’re keen to recycle more. Not all households have access to curbside recycling, and many people are attracted to the idea of bringing their empties for recycling when they go to the supermarket to shop.

“But customers want the experience to be convenient, quick and easy, and that’s why our new machines are so exciting. By listening to our customers and responding to their desire to do more, we’re set to provide a huge boost to the environment.

“Together with our recycling initiatives for carrier bags, mobile phones, printer cartridges and Christmas cards this machine makes Tesco a one-stop recycling centre."

How the machine works

Users drop their waste in any of the three user stations, which is then identified by a high resolution camera (used in satellite surveillance systems) circulated on a conveyor system and correctly sorted into container bins.

Plastic is then shredded by revolving high speed knives moving at over 60 km/hr and glass is crushed by revolving throw-arms throwing bottles at a built-in stone wall.

Breaking the waste down in this way allows the machine to hold the equivalent of 50 normal recycling igloos — a compaction ratio of 15:1 for plastic and 3:1 for glass. It is only emptied half as many times as a traditional recycling container.

The technology was developed by the Norwegian company Tomra who have been world leaders in this sort of technology for over 30 years.

Tomra’s Morthen Johannessen, Executive Vice President & Chief Operating Officer, said: “We are excited that Tesco has chosen Tomra as a partner in bringing a more efficient and environmentally friendly way of recycling to the UK.

“This Recycling Centre concept being tested in Winchester is the first of its kind anywhere in the world. We are confident that the benefits of this new recycling technology will lead to further development of the concept in other locations.”

The Winchester centre will be the first Tesco unit in the UK but if successful there are plans to build further units across the country.

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