Co-op moves forward deadline for 100% recyclable packaging to summer 2020

Date : 06 January 2020

As ethical consumer spending reaches record levels, Co-op has committed to ensuring that 100% of its own-brand packaging is recyclable by the summer of 2020, bringing forward the original 2023 deadline.

In-store collection scheme

The UK retailer has already removed all black plastics from own-brand lines and rolled out compostable carrier bags.  The last big challenge for Co-op in reaching its 100% recyclable target is tackling plastic film, which most UK councils do not recycle.  This will be addressed through an in-store collection scheme, which will be trialed during the spring, followed by a national rollout in the summer.  Customers will be encouraged to deposit items such as crisp packets and bread, pasta and rice bags, which will be collected for specialist recycling.  As Co-op has more than 1,000 UK stores, it is expected to be the UK’s largest take-back scheme for flexible plastics.

What has Co-op said?

Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO, said: “We should rightly celebrate the growth that we’ve seen in ethical markets in the UK over the last twenty years.

“UK businesses, and NGOs have pioneered many of these developments and today we have multi-billion pound markets that either didn’t exist or if they did, other mainstream businesses were unconvinced of their potential to succeed. It has also taken smart government intervention to get us this far. Going forward, ethical consumerism will continue to play a pivotal role in the pursuit of more sustainable products, businesses and markets. However, now is not the time to rest on our laurels, it’s the time double down on our efforts.

“That’s why we’ve brought forward our commitment on own-brand recyclable plastic by three years, why we’re committed to reducing unnecessary packaging and why our long term vision is to be a carbon neutral business. From today, black plastic is banned and by the summer we’ll have pioneered a UK-wide recycling scheme for hard-to-recycle plastic film.”

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