Morrisons has launched the trial of its' zero waste' format stores in Edinburgh as part of its waste reduction initiatives.
Initially, six stores in Hunters Tryst, Moredun, Ferry Road, South Gyle, Granton, Livingston will participate in the pilot.
Should the trial succeed, Morrisons will rollout the format in all 498 stores across the UK over the next year. The six participating stores are expected to become zero waste by 2025.
In the longer term, Morrisons aims to recycle all the waste generated in all stores.
The trial will see the retailer teaming up with Nestlé to collect and recycle all 'hard-to-recycle soft plastics in the UK.
Alison Bramfitt, group packaging manager at Nestlé UK & Ireland, said, "At Nestlé, we're dedicated to driving a more circular system by reducing our use of virgin plastics by one third, and ensuring all of our packaging is reusable or recyclable by 2025.
"We are committed to providing solutions for recycling hard-to-recycle materials, such as film and coffee pods, so we're delighted to be part of this initiative."
All waste collected in the stores will be recycled in the country to avoid the need to export materials for processing overseas.
Helen Bird, strategic technical manager at WRAP, added, "Plastic bags and wrappers make up nearly a quarter of all plastic packaging that we use in our daily lives, yet only 6% is recycled.
"It's encouraging to see Morrisons initiating collection of this material to enable people to recycle it ahead of it being collected directly from their homes in years to come. We look forward to seeing the results of the trial and hope it's rolled out across all larger stores in the near future."
Morrisons will sort all waste, comprising soft and hard plastics, cardboard, food waste, green waste, PPE, plus tins, cans and foils, in its warehouse before handing it over to recycling partners in the UK.
In addition to packaging and product waste, unsold food in 'zero waste' stores will be offered to customers on a budget through the Too Good to Go app and its 'Magic Bags'.
Where surplus food arises, Morrisons stores will also work with a range of partners to redistribute it within its communities.
Jamie Winter, sustainability procurement director at Morrisons, said, "We're not going to reach our ambitious targets through incremental improvements alone. Sometimes you need to take giant steps and we believe that waste is one of those areas.
"We believe that we can, at a stroke, enable these trial stores to move from recycling around 27% of their general waste to over 84% and with a clear line of sight to 100%."
Morrisons will repurpose all of the waste it collects and convert it into other useful products.
Hard-to-recycle soft plastic will be transformed into new eco board products in the UK - and will not be sent overseas for reprocessing.
Bread that is not fit for human consumption will be turned into animal feed, while cooking oil will be turned into biodiesel to power Morrisons trucks.
'Waste As A Resource To Be Repurposed'
Winter added, "We all need to see waste as a resource to be repurposed and reused. The technology, creativity and will exist - it's a question of harnessing the right process for the right type of waste and executing it well.
"And all waste collected in our stores will be recycled here in the UK - we will not reprocess anything abroad. If we're successful, we'll roll this zero waste store concept out across the UK as fast as we can."
The retailer has reduced its own-brand plastic packaging across all stores by over 8,000 tonnes since 2017.
It has also launched a wide range of 'Naturally Wonky' fruit and vegetables, sold over 250,000 Too Good to Go bags of food nearing the sell-by date, and redistributed over 3 million products to charity from its stores and manufacturing sites in the past year.