323 words approx. 1.5 minute to read

In a UK first, we’re going to switch all of our Co-op branded water bottles to 50% recycled plastic, in the largest trial of its kind.

As part of our ambition to ensure that 100% of our packaging is recyclable, with a 80% interim target by 2020, this trial will enable us to see if our members and customers are ready to ditch aesthetically pleasing packaging for more environmentally friendly packaging.

The new 50% recycled plastic water bottle (centre)

We estimated that by making this change on all of our Co-op branded still, sparkling and flavoured water, we can save almost 350 tonnes of plastic annually. The bottles, which are 100% recyclable, will be darker and cloudier than traditional plastic bottles.

We can save almost 350 tonnes of plastic annually

Our aim is to reduce the environmental impact of the products that we sell. Our members have overwhelmingly backed our ambition for 100% of our product packaging to be easily recyclable at our last AGM. We’ll also be tackling black plastic, which can’t be detected in the recycling process, contributing 30,000 tonnes of plastic waste a year.

We know consumers expect more choice and alternatives, and while new types of packaging can challenge the traditional science of shopping. We believe ethically-alert shoppers will increasingly respond to their conscience, becoming ethical consumers with conviction.

Working with stakeholders across both supply and waste value chains is key to increasing the recyclability of our products.

We constantly listen to our members and customers, striving to offer what they want, where and when they need it, and we are committed to continuing to push the boundaries.

Water #TheCoopWay

Our Co-op branded water makes a difference to communities in the UK and around the world. We donate 3p for every litre sold water to The One Foundation and, 1p for every litre sold of branded water to Water Unite.

Last year alone raised over £1.7 million to fund clean, safe, water projects.

Iain Ferguson
Environment Manager

Read more about reducing impacts at our Co-op;

Join the conversation! 24 Comments

  1. Other supermarkets I use are selling some fruit and veg unwrapped. In my Co-op (Leeds) the cucumbers are individually wrapped, so are squashes, potatoes, leeks, celery. Even the Savoy cabbage I just bought had a pointless plastic cover that had slipped half off. If all this veg is UK thrnnit needs no packaging. None at all

  2. Its fabulous that a supermarket is making changes for the better ie paper bags etc.,etc., etc., BUT!!! 50% recyclable bottled water bottles!!! Sorry! Have I missed something, then it goes on to state our water bottle is 100% recyclable!!!! Also a lovely idea to donate to help with clean water and sanitation projects! But in a world where we are desperately trying to avoid any plastics is that not defeating the object and encouraging people to buy bottled water when tap water be it filtered or other is even better for the environment! Would it be possible to encourage shoppers to buy some thing that is NOT wrapped or NOT water in a plastic bottle!!!! Your donation could still go to the sanitation and clean water projects!!! I also think it is so good to see labels letting shoppers know which is 100% recyclable in your store! Just a mention, I used those labels to switch to a better spread your pure sunflower spread range also to be able to buy veggies which are loose and not packaged, Thank you and keep up the good work!! I also use farm shops where they have ecover products ie washing up liquid and fabric washing and conditioners etc I can take my original container and refill! Maybe that is the way to go with the water! Ok shoppers may have to buy the initial bottles but then if they refill and know that a donation will be made that may encourage them to refill and not keep buying bottle after bottle!

  3. […] We’re switching Co-op branded water bottles to 50% plastic […]

  4. […] We’re switching Co-op branded water bottles to 50% recycled plastic […]

  5. […] We’re switching Co-op branded water bottles to 50% plastic […]

  6. Hi Mich, which store do you shop in? Thanks ^Scott

  7. Why haven’t you been selling coop summer fruits water. It’s all my husband drinks, will you be getting it back on the shelves soon please?

  8. […] British supermarket chain called Co-op Food has announced that all of its store-brand bottles of water will soon be packaged in 50 percent recycled plastic. […]

  9. […] We’re switching Co-op branded water bottles to 50% recycled plastic […]

  10. An important first step is most admirable but making an important statement would be better. No plastic bottles in stores instead have glass bottles and a water fountain for customers to refill their own bottles.
    Loose vegetables and paper bags for bread and veg.
    Vegetables do not necessarily last longer when wrapped or bagged in plastic they sweat and go bad quicker in a number of cases. The coops supply network should easily be able to keep up with the demand.
    Perhaps focusing more on seasonality would help.
    We need organisations, retailers and manufacturers to make bold moves and lead the way in an ethically and environmentally positive fashion. Apathy is far to prevelant and we need to make changes quickly and decisively and this means we need to take these more damaging products like plastics away from the marketplace so making the public do the right thing as asking them to is not working quickly enough.

    • Hi Grant, We’re concentrating on plastic reduction and this is the first fantastic step to a long journey. Thank you for the suggestions, we very much appreciate ideas from consumers and Co-op Members, we can’t do this alone. Are you a Co-op Member? If so, you can join in with our plastic packaging discussions here: https://joinin.coop.co.uk/opportunities/126 We’d love to hear your suggestions. ^Siobhan

  11. Absolutely brilliant initiative and drive – Congratulations Co-op for taking the initiative and first step forward in actually putting into practice your intentions to help the environment. Also, to helping instil in your dedicate and loyal customers, the importance of becoming more environmentally alert to the devastating consequences of plastic packaging. Well done Co-op!!

  12. I look forward to seeing this change in our local store and will buy this product over any other – thank you for making the change 🙂

  13. This is an excellent first step – well done Co-op. Please make sure,though, that it is just one step towards reducing to zero all packaging which hasn’t previously been recycled, negating the need to produce any new plastic, globally. That should be an aim for all of us, suppliers and consumers alike. Keep up the good work!

    • Hi Philip, thank you for the words of support. It is a step in a much larger journey. We are looking at reducing packaging overall where possible. ^Siobhan

  14. There are still issues with tap water. Delighted with this initiative as a step in the right direction.

  15. We don’t need bottled water, but more water fountains!

  16. No plastic bottles would be better!
    Do we really need bottled water?
    Stainless steel bottle and fill from the tap.

    • We appreciate the suggestion Sandra. It’s an important first step and a big change aesthetically for consumers to get used to. ^Siobhan

  17. Drink filtered water from the tap, no need for any bottles then.


Leave a Reply


#TheCoopWay, Food