Food retailer Co-op begins packaging recycling scheme
Co-op has announced the launch of Europe’s most extensive in-store recycling scheme for plastic bags and food product wrapping.
The rollout of the scheme makes the convenience retailer the first UK supermarket to have fully recyclable food packaging.
Plastic waste turned into secondary products
Recycling units for ‘soft’ plastics will launch across 2,300 stores by November, which will collect:
- Bread bags
- Crisp packets
- Single-use carrier bags and bags-for-life
- Lids from ready meals and yogurt pots
- Biscuit wrappers
- Pet-food pouches.
The Co-op will also accept food packaging for products purchased in other food shops.
The food retailer estimates that 300 tonnes of plastic bags and food wrapping could be collected per year once the bins are fully in place. Instead of flooding landfill sites, going to incineration or being shipped overseas, the material is turned into post-consumer plastic granules. Jayplas, a recycling company, create useful secondary products from the granules, including:
- Bin liners
- Material for the construction industry.
Co-op provides a simple solution to the overwhelming problem of plastic waste
The Co-op team believes that the scheme will have full support from customers. A film collection trialed across 50 stores last year showed that 86% of shoppers were likely to use the recycling service.
“As we face into an environmental crisis, we know from our feedback that there is a universal appetite for change”, said Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO. “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.”
As part of a new partnership with ITV, the roll-out will be supported by a nationwide, multi-channel marketing campaign.
“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”, said Helen Bird, Strategic Technical Manager from WRAP. “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.”
Lidl's climate targets and carbon neutral ambition
Discount retailer Lidl has announced its aim to reduce CO2 emissions from its own operations.
By 2030, Lidl aims to reduce its operational emissions by 80% across all 32 countries it operates in.
Lidl lowering prices and carbon emissions
To achieve this, Lidl will focus on cutting carbon emissions across its retail stores and distribution centres in a number of ways:
- Solar panel installation on all new stores, where possible
- Improving overall energy efficiency through investment in the latest refrigeration and lighting technologies
- Lidl will operate 350 electric vehicle charging points at its stores by 2022
- The company will also oblige suppliers, representing 75 % of product-related scope 3 emissions, to commit to their own climate protection targets according to the methodology of the Science Based Targets initiative, by 2026
- Lidl will continue to support farmers in Lidl GB’s Grassroots programme, to conduct develop carbon reduction plans.
Lidl’s ambitious targets to make a significant contribution
Lidl has been building partnerships with other suppliers to boost sustainability, such as its initiative with Wyke Farms to produce a supermarket-first carbon neutral cheddar and Lidl’s commitment to ban peat from its compost range by 2022.
“With the UK hosting COP26 in November, this is a crucial year in the fight against climate change and we recognise our responsibility to reduce our emissions to help tackle this important issue”, said Christian Härtnagel, CEO at Lidl GB. “As part of the Schwarz Group, Lidl has a presence in 32 countries around the world and more than 310,000 employees globally. We’re therefore one of Europe’s largest retail businesses and through these ambitious targets we hope to make a significant contribution by not only rapidly decarbonising our own operations but also supporting our suppliers to do the same. As a discounter, it is ingrained in us to be constantly looking to maximise efficiency and reduce waste. Whether it’s how we heat and light our stores, or how we transport food from our suppliers to our warehouses, we are continuing to find ways to cut emissions across our business.”