The Co-operative improves its back haul waste operation

THE CO-OPERATIVE’S Cardinal food distribution depot at Godmanchester in Cambridgeshire has recently installed a newly refurbished baler from Middleton Engineering to process backhauled card and plastic packaging waste from stores across the region.

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The 88,000 sq ft temperature controlled depot which serves 360 stores, distributes some 6,000 grocery cages per day. Packaging waste from each store, which is returned in cages to the depot using empty vehicle capacity, is now compacted and baled to optimise storage and onward transportation to the Group’s larger distribution hub in Andover and from there to recycling agents. Currently the depot is generating 13 to 15 bales of recyclable material per day, each weighing approximately 600kg, in the region of 3,200 tonnes per year.


The solution comprises a Middleton Engineering ME80 semi-automatic horizontal baler, with manual wire tying and an on-floor conveyor to feed material into the machine. With an 80 tonne press force, the machine produces compact, high quality mill size bales and was selected following recommendations from other Co-operative depots that currently use Middleton Engineering balers and a site visit to Ricoh in Telford to see a similar baler in action.


Jit Mistry, Co-operative Group Logistics Service, said: “Middleton Engineering was able to recommend a solution that makes the best use of the limited space we have available, ensuring the right capacity to deal efficiently with incoming packaging waste, without being overly labour intensive. The machine has been working extremely well and after sales service is excellent.”


The Co-operative has been using balers from Middleton Engineering for more than a decade and the business has recently installed refurbished balers for depots in Birtley, Newhouse, Andover, Avonmouth and Castlewood.


Mark Smith, Engineering Director at Middleton Engineering commented: “The Co-operative has been a customer for over 17 years and we are delighted that they have again chosen us for this new installation. This brings the number of Middleton Engineering balers across the Group to 15. As a versatile solution, the ME80 is ideal for warehouse operations and distribution depots of this size. Following discussions we are also exploring additional options to facilitate faster unloading of cages as they are returned to the depot to further streamline the Co-op’s recycling process.”