May 11, 2017

Recycling, The Co-op Way

We know that a lot of packaging goes un-recycled because of complexity that confuses consumers – complexity of collections, packaging materials, and recycling messages.  We want to make life easier for our customers and members and get people recycling more.

We knew that we were part of the problem, but we needed to talk to a lot of stakeholders to work out the best way to be part of the solution.  We’ve been working in the background for a couple of years, starting with changing how we measure recyclability.  Measuring by weight gave us a false sense of achievement – we had over 80% recyclability.

We now measure by product line, not weight, because that is what the customer sees.  That gave us a number of 45% easy to recycle – that was challenging but honest.

We’ve done a lot of great stuff to improve packaging recyclability – we’ve made a lot of our protein packaging simpler and easier to recycle, we’ve swapped the un-recyclable plastic discs on all our pizzas to really nice cardboard, and we’ve helped to change the labelling used for recyclability messaging on pack to make it more simple and relevant to what local councils now collect.

All this work has moved us from 45% of our packs in easy to recycle packaging, to 69%.  However, there is more to do and challenges ahead – things like black plastic which were covered on the BBC’s One Show.

Motion 12 on recycling is about taking responsibility and leading the way.  Support for this motion will confirm that we are on the right track and give us the mandate to do more.

Click here if you’d like to attend our Fringe Event ‘The Tipping Point’ at our AGM on Saturday 20 May 2017.

To read more on our ambition to make it easy to recycle all or our packaging see our Tipping Point Report.

The first milestone in this journey will be achieving 80% easy to recycle by 2020. We define easy to recycle as the packaging carrying the “widely recycled” symbol, the “widely recycled at bring bank, check locally for kerbside”, or “recycle with carrier bags in larger stores”.

Iain Ferguson
Environment Manager

Join the conversation! 1 Comment

  1. Can you tell us more about this? I’d like to find out some additional information.



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Business, Food Policy