THE Co-operative Group has opened the largest in-house office waste recycling centre in North West England ? and has pledged that all Co-op brand household tissue will come from sustainable sources from April.
The centre ? situated next to the Group's head office complex in central Manchester ? is currently handling 5,000 tonnes of office waste per year, but it has the capacity to more than double that figure.
The centre can handle not only paper and cardboard but other products such as plastic bottles and cups, cans, CDs and even uniforms.
As well as handling the Group's discarded materials, the centre has the capacity to take in office waste from other businesses in the area.?
An electric-powered lorry travels between the various Group premises picking up the waste material. On current operating figures, the Co-operative Group's annual recycling results in 85,000 less trees being felled and reduces land fill space by 20,000 cubic metres.?
Chief Executive Martin Beaumont (pictured) said: "We recognise that office waste management is one of the biggest environmental issues facing a business of our size.?
"Establishing our own in-house operation means we have far more control over what happens to materials once we have finished with them. For instance, we send our paper to the mill from which we purchase the toilet tissue that we sell in our stores."
Added Mr Beaumont: "At present, 50 per cent of that recycled paper comes from our recycling centre, but as the amount of paper we deal with increases so will the percentage.
"Because our new machinery has spare capacity we are able to offer a very competitive recycling service to other companies in and around Manchester. In addition, our household tissue which is not from recycled paper will come from sustainable sources from April onwards."
The products to be made from recycled paper or paper bearing the Forestry Stewardship seal of approval include toilet rolls, kitchen towels and facial tissues.