LUU has been informed of some exciting news in the world of packaging as Michael Fletcher, Co-op’s Retail Chief Commercial Officer told us:
"I’m extremely pleased to announce that all our own brand packaging on every single Co-op product will be 100% recyclable by this summer. We have already banned black plastic packaging from all of our Co-op own brand products, and by the summer of 2020 we’ll be phasing out all non-recyclable plastics and replacing them with those that can be reused or easily recycled.’’
This move will be achieved by Co-op delivering the largest ever UK-wide scheme to recycle all plastic film; which local councils don’t presently collect for recycling. After a store trial in spring, the scheme will be rolled out nationally across all Co-op stores – including LUU’s own Co-op. Everything from ready meal trays, crisps packets, sandwich cartons and all film including pasta, rice and bread bags, will be easy to recycle whether via kerbside collection or a Co-op closed loop scheme in stores.
This is an industry first for the UK and it’s a key part of Co-op’s Future of Food ambition – to source and create products with care and respect for the planet.
Doing something like this isn’t easy
Co-op currently produce around 750 million pieces of plastic film ever year. The reason this kind of plastic is used is because it plays a key role in protecting the shelf life and quality of the product and it’s essential to reducing food waste; which is important for Co-op and the customer. However, this film is currently not collected at kerbside, which is frustrating for everyone.
Michael went on to tell us that “the UK produces around 2.3 million tonnes of plastic every year, of which around only half gets recycled. There are many contributing factors to this, including packaging which isn’t designed to be easily recycled, or products containing a mix of recyclable and non recyclable materials. This makes it difficult for people to know what can and can’t be recycled. Alongside this, not all local authorities and councils have the facilities to sort or manage recycling. That’s why we’re making every single product simple to recycle.”
It’s been a long journey for Co-op to get to this point
Currently, almost three out of four own-brand Co-op products are now widely recyclable. In the last three years, they’ve removed almost 787 tons of plastic that can’t be recycled.
Co-op has made huge leaps in its bid to tackle plastic consumption over the years:
- 13 years ago, removing plastic stems from cotton buds before any other retailer
- Removing all microbeads from products
- No longer selling plastic straws in any store
- In 2016, swapping the plastic discs in pizza boxes to recyclable cardboard ones, saving over 200 tonnes of polystyrene from going to landfill
- Last year, Co-op were the first retailer to replace single use plastic bags with certified compostable carrier bags, removing 60 million single use carrier bags from circulation
Finally Michael wanted to thank all at Co-op who had made this change possible: “Moving all our Co-op packaging into recyclable material and reducing the amount of plastic we use is a huge piece of work and I want to thank all the colleagues that are playing a part in delivering this for Co-op members and customers. We’ll keep updating you as we progress our plans towards our 2020 goal.”
LUU are really excited by this announcement and further highlights why we chose to partner with Co-op and run an LUU Co-op franchise. Co-op have always been market leaders when it comes to their Ethical policies, community led initiatives and sustainability standards.