285 words approx. 1 minute to read.

I first heard about Co-op’s commitment to plastic reduction through a Co-op Member Voice email. I saw Co-op was asking members to join in and make suggestions about packaging and as I’d just been in store buying eggs and plums, I’d wondered why plums couldn’t be sold in cardboard boxes like eggs are, without any plastic wrapping.

I submitted my idea for Co-op to consider, along with 8,000 other suggestions from Co-op Members. It was amazed when I heard my egg-box style packaging idea was shortlisted and put to a member vote and then won. Following this, I was invited up to Co-op’s Support Centre to see some packaging samples and hear how Co-op are putting my pulp packaging idea into practice.

It’s amazing to see my idea to help tackle plastic waste come to life at Co-op. It’s going to be used in the packaging of Co-op golden kiwis, ready-to-eat kiwis and pears, apples and organic avocado.

To meet with the Co-op team and learn more about what they’re doing tackle plastic waste was a fantastic experience. It’s great to see them talk with passion about it and I’m happy to hear that they are reducing their use of plastic, and where they do use it, they’re making it easy to recycle or reuse by 2023.

This Join In opportunity was fantastic for me as a Co-op Member and I’m excited to share that Co-op are working on several other member suggestions that came through from this activity!  If you’re a Co-op member, like me, sign in to your member account and take a look at the opportunities that are available to shape your Co-op right now.

Alice Leuenberger,
Co-op Member

Read more on how members shape our Co-op;


Join the conversation! 9 Comments

  1. For a few years now I have collected plastic bags and plastic of any kind that you can scrunch and it doesn’t open up again – so is recyclable – and taken these to the plastic bag deposit containers that Sainsbury’s and Tesco provide. I keep meaning to wait until I see one being taken away for process so that I can follow the vehicle and see it if actually does go to a processing organisation or does it simply end up in landfill/incineration. I will be really hacked off if it’s the latter that occurs, especially as I open up any contaminated plastic such as plastic bags for oven chips and wash them in my dishwater before doing the pots!!

  2. Hi Declan, we have committed to eliminating Co-op branded black and dark plastic packaging by 2020. Read more about our commitment to eliminate all single-use-plastics by 2023 here ➡️ https://coop.uk/futureoffood

    Thanks ^Abid

  3. It is admirable that Co-Op is trying to make all its plastic packaging “recyclable”, however this misses the main point. Although many of these plastics have an apparent “recyclable” code, in practice a great majority of them end up in landfill, as they have no commercial value for recycling companies.

    It is a shame that nearly all co-op fruit and veg are wrapped in some form of plastic. I am a committed co-op member, but when I can, I always buy my fruit and veg from ALDI, as nearly ALL of their fruit and veg is loose and not wrapped in plastic.

    If we are serious about avoiding pollution due to plastics, then we should avoid their use whenever possible. I fear that “recycling” is a failing meme, whose actual performance is falling far short of what has been promised. I will always try to avoid purchasing products with plastic packaging whenever practical and I would hope that major retailers like the Co-Op will take note. ALDI have.

  4. Do you use biodegradable or recyclable windows in your mailing envelopes.? Ideally these need to be able to breakdown in paper pulp when whole envelope recycled. If you do then please print this on the envelope. I am currently cutting out the windows in your bank and insurance mailings but only because I have time due to lockdown. Usually I just put whole envelope in recycle bin and probably contaminate it.

  5. Hi Gill, thanks for your feedback. I hope you enjoyed the eggs though. I will pass your feedback on but can’t guarantee anything. Fingers crossed. Thanks for your message. Have a great evening. ^Andrea

  6. It is wonderful that the co-op are receiving ideas and taking on board solutions.
    My favorite easter eggs last year and this were the co-op’s own fair trade eggs with orange or salted caramel/toffee decorations on the front. My dilemma was a toss up. Sadly those delicious fairtrade (very important to me) eggs were in quite a large boxes ( sort of fine) with a plastic surround inside to support and protect and show off the decorated fronts. I’d love to see the same eggs next year with much less packaging – and some sort of vegetable protective wrap that would compost, rather than the plastic.

  7. It’s so nice to hear that the co-op are actively asking customers how to improve services. Thousands of heads are better than just 1 team. Hats off to you all!!

  8. If Coop could reuse their own returnable glass jars and bottles this would save them from using energy by council recycling. Some stores are using cardboard boxes fo mushrooms but we need an alternative film ? Made from starch or seaweed.

  9. I am thrilled to hear this story. We all have a responsibility to reduce plastic useage but the retailers can make the biggest difference! I would love more glass bottles instead of plastic ones for milk and sauces too.


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