Co-op rolls out ‘Europe’s most extensive’ recycling scheme for plastic food packaging

Shoppers will be able to recycle items such as crisp packets, bread bags, lids from ready meals and yoghurt pots, biscuit wrappers and pet food pouches

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The Co-op Group has announced the rollout of an in-store recycling scheme for plastic bags and food packaging, claimed to be the “most extensive” in Europe.

The retailer claims it will make Co-op the first UK supermarket to have fully recyclable food packaging by the end of the month.

The recycling units for ‘soft plastics’ will be launched in 1,500 stores in July, followed by a rollout to 2,300 stores by November.

Shoppers will be able to recycle items such as crisp packets, bread bags, single-use carrier bags and bags for life, lids from ready meals and yoghurt pots, biscuit wrappers and pet food pouches.

Co-op estimates around 300 tonnes of plastic bags and food wrapping could be collected per year once the bins are fully in place.

The plastics collected will be recycled in the UK, with Jayplas converting them into post-consumer plastic granules which are then made into secondary products, including bin liners, buckets and materials for the construction industry.

Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO said: “As we face into an environmental crisis, we know from our feedback that there is a universal appetite for change. Which is why we are making it easier for thousands of households to recycle all of their plastic food packaging. This will not only prevent unnecessary waste but also reduce plastic pollution.

“By offering a simple and convenient solution to an everyday issue, we believe we can help communities to make small changes, that together will add up to a big difference for our environment.”