Recycling units for ‘soft’ plastics – which also includes product wrapping – will launch in 1,500 Co-op stores this month. The retailer added that the scheme would roll out to a total of 2,300 stores by November.
The Co-op said that the scheme follows a pilot of 50 stores last year which found that 86% of shoppers were likely to use the service. The recyclable material is turned, by Jayplas, into post-consumer plastic granules which are then made into secondary products including bin liners and materials for the construction industry.
Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food chief executive, said: “As we face into an environmental crisis, we know from our feedback that there is a universal appetite for change. Which is why we are making it easier for thousands of households to recycle all of their plastic food packaging. This will not only prevent unnecessary waste but also reduce plastic pollution. By offering a simple and convenient solution to an everyday issue, we believe we can help communities to make small changes, that together will add up to a big difference for our environment.”
Helen Bird, strategic technical manager from WRAP, added: “There’s no doubt that unnecessary plastic needs to be reduced; including bags and wrapping which is a fifth of all consumer plastic packaging. However, where it is necessary it is urgent to design it for recycling and ensure recycling systems are in place. It’s great to see the roll out of collections across Co-op’s stores significantly contributing to the goal of The UK Plastics Pact for all plastic packaging to be recyclable by 2025. Not only is the Co-op ensuring that the service is widely promoted, it is processing the material within the UK, demonstrating how we can build back better for the economy and environment.”