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Lots of food packaging goes unrecycled because it’s not always easy to know if the packaging is recyclable. As a food retailer, we are able to help.
We’ve been working on this for some time and have a goal to make all Co-op food packaging ‘easy to recycle’.
We define ‘easy to recycle’ when the packaging carries these labels:
- “widely recycled” (your council will collect from your kerbside)
- “check local recycling” (widely recycled at recycling points, some kerbsides)
We also offer to recycle some other materials, such as polyethene film and carrier bags, in larger Co-op stores.
How we measure if our food packaging is ‘easy to recycle’
We measure how much of our food packaging is ‘easy to recycle’ by the number of individual product lines. For example, Co-op Semi-Skimmed Milk is one product line, Co-op Skimmed Milk is another.
We used to measure by the combined weight of our food product packaging. Previously we reported 85% of (the combined weight of) our food packaging was ‘easy to recycle,’ when in fact 45% of (the individual product lines of) our food packaging was ‘easy to recycle’.
100% of our food packaging is ‘easy to recycle’.
Our Co-op Members voted at our AGM in 2017 to commit our Co-op to increasing the percentage of all our Co-op food products with ‘easy to recycle’ packaging from 45% to 80%, by 2020. This is the first step in our overall goal of making 100% of Co-op food packaging ‘easy to recycle’.
To read more on our goal to make it ‘easy to recycle’ all or our Co-op food packaging, see our Tipping Point Report.
How are we doing?
71% of our food packaging is ‘easy to recycle’.
Last reported in April 2018.
We’ve made more of our food packaging ‘easy to recycle’ by changing our:
- meat product packaging, it’s now made with a single material
- milk bottle top colours to a lighter shade, this makes them easier to recycle
- Pizza bases from polystyrene to cardboard
- Our own-brand straws are not paper not plastic
- Irresistible tomato packaging from plastic to cardboard
- recycling labelling to say what most councils say
We also stock compostable carrier bags in selected stores in England and Scotland. They can be used to carry shopping home and then within food waste caddies and bins.
You can read more about how some of our food packaging is keeping food fresher for longer.
What we’re tackling next
We’re always working to make our food packaging easier to recycle. Next, we’re working on:
- making more plastic films ‘easy to recycle’
- finding alternatives to our current ready-meal trays
- sourcing new packaging to extend the shelf life of products
- making Co-op Fairtrade 99 Blend tea bags biodegradable