Tesco has announced that its new distribution centre in Widnes will be completely powered by renewable energy generated from food waste, thanks to a partnership between the supermarket, multimodal logistics company Stobart Group and the UK’s largest food waste recycler, the PDM Group. The distribution centre will take its renewable energy from PDM’s combined heat and power (CHP) plant which turns 230,000 tonnes of food waste – including Tesco’s food waste – into renewable heat and electricity.
Through the partnership a direct power link provides renewable energy straight from PDM’s CHP plant to the neighbouring distribution centre on Widnes’ Multimodal Mersey Gateway. Furthermore, the partnership reduces around 7,000 tonnes of CO2 annually.
Tesco has leased the new 528,000 sq.ft. sustainable distribution centre, which will become operational this summer, to provide increased capacity to service its growing network of stores in the North West. Not only does this venture support both Stobart’s and Tesco’s sustainability objectives, the synergies between the three are further strengthened by the fact that PDM, as the UK’s largest food waste recycler, currently recycles all Tesco’s meat waste.
Juliette Bishop, corporate affairs manager, at Tesco said: "This venture is an ideal example of how sustainability is at the very core of the Tesco business and it’s great that we can demonstrate that our food waste is directly providing power back into our operations, helping us to reduce waste going to landfill and our carbon footprint."
Stobart Group and PDM will be working together to offer Stobart’s customer base – predominantly food retailers – a sustainable recycling service for food waste. This reciprocal agreement will also be highly sustainable, with food waste back-hauled on Stobart vehicles to Widnes, meaning specific waste collections and therefore vehicle movements can be reduced.
Each year, PDM’s renewable energy CHP plant at Widnes recycles more than 230,000 tonnes of biomass fuels to generate renewable combined heat and power using biomass-to-energy technology. The biomass fuel is derived from food wastes and other bio-wastes produced from every stage of the food chain, from farm gate to dinner plate.
Robert Ratcliffe, director of the PDM Group, explained: "Using green power is becoming an important objective for many businesses, however it’s extremely rare that such power can come directly from anywhere other than the National Grid. This type of closed-loop biomass-to-energy relationship is rare in the UK and its great that we can work together to not only help bolster green credentials, but also enable Tesco to demonstrate that any food waste it generates is essentially helping to power it’s own supply chain."