UK food retail co-op commits to 100% recyclable packaging

The Co-op has announced that it will only use 100% recyclable packaging for its own brands, leading to what will become the largest-ever UK-wide scheme to recycle plastic film.

The Co-op group is not only one of the world’s largest consumer co-operatives with millions of members, but it’s also the UK’s fifth biggest food retailer with more than 2,500 local, convenience and medium-sized stores.

It can also now claim the title of packaging innovator after announcing that it has now banned plastic packaging from all of its products. By the summer of 2020 it also intends to have phased out all non-recyclable plastics and to have replaced them with those that can be reused or easily recycled.

The new packaging commitment applies to all food products: from ready meal trays and chip bags, to sandwich cartons and film.

The move will be facilitated by the largest ever UK-wide scheme to recycle plastic film, which local councils do not presently collect for recycling.

The Co-op, which makes over 750 million pieces of plastic film each year, will make the material easy to recycle by developing its own national collection programme for the material.

According to the Co-op, just over half a million of the 2.3 million tonnes of plastic placed on the UK market every year is being recycled. One of the main reasons why recycling rates are so low is due to the lack of knowledge about which packaging can be recycled and the lack of local recycling facilities.

Image credit: The Co-op Group via Flickr

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