As an important element in The Co-operative's drive to lower carbon emissions and achieve zero waste to landfill, the Group has overhauled its food distribution network, whilst also creating 10 "greener" distribution centres, which serve 4,000 stores, including independent Co-operatives, across the country. The latest state-of-the-art centre has just opened in Castlewood, north Derbyshire, which completes the modernisation of its UK-wide logistics operation.
The new multi-temperature depot follows a £22 million investment and, when fully operational in October 2013, will service 528 Co-operative food stores in Yorkshire, Derbyshire, Nottinghamshire and Lincolnshire. The aim is to upgrade existing logistic facilities, improve supply chain performance, and at the same time minimise waste, to divert all food store waste away from landfill, increase recycling and deliver financial savings.
As part of the project, specialist recycling equipment company Middleton Engineering has been helping managers to evaluate their changing recycling equipment needs and refurbishing existing baling plant and conveyors to 'as new condition', for Castlewood and four other new centres.
Chas Shepperson, The Co-operative Food's National Material Handling Equipment Manager and Warehouse Equipment Fleet Manager, said: "Using Middleton Engineering's refurbished balers to bale the back-hauled outer transit packaging, cardboard and plastic sheet helps us to achieve our strict recycling volumes. Not only are we reducing the volume of waste to landfill, but we're creating a new revenue stream - and the balers will quickly pay for themselves."
Middletons has been supplying baling equipment for plastic and card to the Group's distribution centres, since 1997, with 15 balers spread over 10 sites. So far, the team has refurbished eight of these installing them into The Co-operative's new sites at Andover, Avonmouth, Newhouse, Birtley and now Castlewood.
Chas Shepperson added: "Middletons has been providing and servicing balers and conveyors for us for 15 years. We're delighted with the service, the depth of the relationship we have with the company and the quality of the product which, after refurbishment, should last for many years to come. We work closely with Middletons as they provide invaluable expertise and service to meet our needs – and they will shortly be back at our Castlewood site to install a second refurbished baler."