Tesco Case Study

Tesco worked with DS Smith on its zero waste ambitions by backhauling card, plastic, animal by-product and metal.

Company / Organisation: Tesco 

Logo of Tesco

The Challenge

Tesco was the first major UK retailer to commit to sending zero waste to landfill. The retailer is committed to moving material up the waste hierarchy as well as improving the efficiency of the collection of different materials.

The Solution

Tesco worked with DS Smith on its zero waste ambitions by backhauling card, plastic, animal by-product and metal. Bakery waste makes up one third of its food waste and is separated from general waste and goes to animal feed.

In order to separate and backhaul as much waste as possible a Recycle Zone has been set up in stores, supported by 11 Recycling Service Units around the country. All non-hazardous waste is segregated at store level and backhauled on the Tesco fleet to one of the 11 Recycling Service Units.

The Benefits

As a result of segregating materials Tesco is fulfilling its zero waste to landfill commitment. The figures speak for themselves:

  • 300,000 tonnes of cardboard recycled pa
  • 20,000 tonnes of bakery waste pa turned into animal feed
  • 29,000 tonnes of plastic recycled pa
  • 5,000 tonnes of metal recycled pa
  • 1.7 million litres of chicken fat blended into bio-ethenol to power its fleet
  • 40,000 tonnes of food waste to AD

Alongside the carbon savings through reduced transport and general waste collections the commitment has led to major savings:


By segregating food waste Tesco stays ahead of Scottish legislation, to be introduced in 2014 and EU legislation from 2015, at no extra cost.

Energy from waste

Food is taken for anaerobic digestion rather than incineration.


By utilising the empty space in delivery fleets and consolidating material in 11 locations the retailer has reduced collection costs, increased revenue from material and encouraged investment in technologies at consolidation points.

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