475 words approx. 2 minutes to read.

Over 1,000 tonnes of food waste ends up in landfills each day*. We’re urging English Local Authorities to speed up the rollout of food collections, so that food waste could instead be composted or used to create energy and help cut greenhouse gases.

Why swap single-use carrier bags for Co-op compostable carrier bags?

The majority of the 1.75billion** single-use plastic bags in circulation would be replaced with our compostable alternatives. Co-op compostable carrier bags have been deliberately designed to have a valuable second use as a food waste caddy liner.

Our compostable carrier bags are currently in over 1,000 Co-ops but we want them in more. If local authorities began food waste collections from homes sooner and permitted the use of compostable carrier bags as food waste bin liners, we estimate that this could stop Co-op alone producing 60 million single-use plastic bags.

How you can help urge Local Authorities to take action

We’re writing to all local authorities that do not collect food waste, calling for the introduction of universal food waste collections to be sped up, to help stop 356,000 tonnes of food waste, in England alone, going to landfill*.

Currently 156 English councils (48%) do not have a kerbside food waste collection. And of the 169 local authorities that do already collect food waste, 12% do not accept compostable bagsƗ. We’ve written to these local authorities inviting them to change their position, enabling us to reduce plastic contamination and the amount of food waste going to landfill.

Check here to see if your local council currently accepts compostable bags in food waste collections>>>

If you want to see wider use of compostable bags, just like ours, you too can contact your English Local Authority and ask them to introduce food collections which include compostable bags.

The world is experiencing a climate crisis and we need to work together to avoid it. Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future.This is why we want to see the Government’s proposals for all homes receiving weekly food waste collections by 2023 to be developed more quickly.

We’re committed to helping our members and customers to make environmentally friendly choices and reducing the environmental impact of our products is and always has been at the core of Co-op. Where Local Authorities and the Government commit to accepting compostable carrier bags in their food waste collection service, we will make our compostable carrier bags widely available in Co-ops, our franchises, and in our NISA and Costcutter wholesale partners’ stores too. If every Local Authority moved to accepting our compostable carrier bags in their food waste collection, together we could save more than 5 million plastic bags a month from ending up in land fill.

Michael Fletcher
Commercial Director 

Find out more about how Co-op is tackling plastic and food waste:

* In 2017/2018, councils in England collected 386,000 tonnes. 356,000 additional tonnes could be collected if all local authorities had food waste collections
** 2017 / 2018 https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/carrier-bag-charge-summary-of-data-in-england/single-use-plastic-carrier-bags-charge-data-in-england-for-2018-to-2019
Ɨ WRAP http://www.wrap.org.uk/sites/files/wrap/Estimates_%20in_the_UK_Jan17.pdf

Join the conversation! 20 Comments

  1. Cotton bags would be a great addition! Like the ones that were available at Glastonbury

  2. not seen any in the meadows branch in Nottingham or would use them

  3. Had no idea that many councils don’t have food collections.
    Maybe The Co-op should send all those compostable bags that would have gone to shops in an area, to the council offices instead. They’ll see how many disposable plastic bags can be prevented and will soon get the message.

  4. If we and other supermarkets are using compostable carrier bags, then why do we still charge the 5p ‘single use bad levy’? This was introduced on ‘single use carrier bags’ because of the plastic, now we and some others have replaced them we shouldn’t be charging the 5p!

  5. I visit each day a few websites and blogs to read articles, however this
    webpage presents quality based content.

  6. Compostable bags is a positive step but why are most of your fresh produce still wrapped in single use plastic which is non recyclable?

  7. English Councils ? Their are coop stores in Wales Scotland and possibly Northern Ireland ?

  8. I want the real cotton bags that the Co-op sold in their stores 12 /13 years ago. I am still using mine ! Why can you not issue these again PLEASE?

  9. What always annoys me when shopping in my local co-op shops: Bananas in plastic bags, cucumber rapped in plastic – and when I ask the stuff “why” they say “We have to sell what we get delivered”. Can’t blame them but the management should make it better. By the way, some shops have already replaced plastic bags by paper bags.

    • In Switzerland all non-recyclable waste is collected by the bagful and each bagful of waste must be paid for using tokens you stick to each bag. So it’s commonplace to see a shelf and bin the other side of the checkout where customers can remove excess packaging and leave it at the shop before going home. A bit of a clunky solution to a problem but at least the polluter pays – the shop must deal with their own waste.

  10. I don’t want any plastic bags. Everybody can use their own shopping bag. That will help the environment!

  11. Good thinking

  12. Agree reduce and reuse far better than recycling, so hope there will be a charge for these industrially compostable carrier bags.

    I also hope that the Co-op could work with businesses to increase food waste recycling. For example, I was surprised to find that Centerparcs do not have any food recycling facilities, despite collecting other materials for recycling and a caddy for each lodge being a facility that would be familiar to many customers from what their council provides at home. I have emailed them to ask that they provide such a facility, and would be great if the Co-op could help with this.

  13. A recent report on the parlous state of recycling of plastic and other waste in the UK (Guardian newspaper) suggests there is no alternative but to eliminate plastic from our lives as the amount we currently use cannot be re-used. This mean no carrier bags, no plastic wrapping on perishable products and no plastic bottles of liquids. We need to understand that just because we put our empty containers in a recycling bin that does not mean those items will be recycled for re-use. How much waste does Herefordshire Council incinerate each and every day? I now avoid plastic bags, of whatever kind, and amattempting to eliminate all plastics from my home apart from reusable containers. I cannot control the absurd packaging used by electronics and other companies but I do write to them admonishing their profligacy in packaging products. I urge everyone to do the same.


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