Independent retailers say they are ahead of the multiples when tackling waste resulting from stock past its ‘Best Before’ date.

The comments come following an announcement by East of England Co-op to sell dried and tinned goods beyond their “Best Before” date to customers for 10p, in a scheme to be rolled out across 125 stores.

Chris King, manager of Budgens in Broadstairs, said he already had a strategy in place to manage dried product waste. He said: “We work with Olleco, a company that takes away our waste and turns it into renewable energy.”

Susan Gadd, of Orford General Stores in Suffolk, said: “If the product is past its Best Before date, we let staff take the goods home for free.”

Similarly, Deven Changela, of Watton Edwards News in Watton, said he would not be following the Co-op’s example.  “It wouldn’t make sense, as our supplier takes away our wastage on a sale or return basis, and that works for us,” he said.

Meanwhile, Co-op and Iceland have become the first multiples to back a mandatory plastic bottle deposit scheme across England and Wales to reduce plastics waste.