We are supporting ‘National Recycle Week’ (23-29 September)

Plastic waste poses a critical threat to the environment. This is how we’re tackling this vital issue. Making a difference — it’s part of our ‘Co-op Difference’ and it’s just what we do!

Breaking the cycle

Our sumptuous fish pie now comes in a recyclable aluminium dish, which will save 7.7 tonnes of plastic from landfill or incineration. The pie itself is made with chunks of salmon, smoked haddock and cod, a delicious creamy sauce and a cheesy potato topping. Now you can just wash the tray and recycle it, so it’s a treat for the environment, as well as you! 

(Co-op Irresistible Luxury Fish Pie, 425g)

Plastic waste: how Co-op is making a difference:

What we’re doing now…

At Co-op, we’ve been working hard for years to reduce the amount of plastic we use and searching for recyclable packaging solutions. We’re proud of the changes we’re making — here are some of the highlights

Not all plastic is created equal

When you see ‘plastic’ on the recycling bin, you’d think you could chuck in everything from cling film to Tupperware to that disposable cutlery from last-night’s takeaway. Wrong! Black plastic can’t be recycled, for instance, because the machinery at recycling centres doesn’t recognise it as recyclable — this is because the sensors can’t ‘see’ the black, meaning the plastic is rejected and incinerated or sent to landfill, where it can remain for hundreds of years without decomposing. So we’re gradually replacing this kind of plastic.

We’ve prevented 465 tonnes of waste plastic by dropping black trays from our fruit and veg. That’s roughly equivalent in weight to 42 double decker buses! And by moving from black to clear recyclable plastic sushi boxes, we’ve rescued 19 tonnes of plastic from being scrapped

The tray for our minced beef is now made from a single material, so the packaging is much easier to recycle, saving 163 tonnes of plastic from landfill

Our healthier-snack packs now come in a recyclable film pouch, replacing 5.2 tonnes of the old packaging

Bottle top colours on our milk bottles are a lighter shade, so it’s easier for the recycle machines to sort them

200 tonnes – the amount of no-recyclable polystyrene saved by changing to cardboard pizza discs

All our water bottles are made from 50% recycled materials, which has prevented 270 tonnes of refuse

Plastic waste: how Co-op is making a difference

What we’re up to…

Co-op might not have all the solutions yet, but we’re setting the bar high and working hard to reduce plastic where possible, redesigning our packaging and working towards nationwide change, along with others in the industry

Here are some simple ways you can cut down on plastic and become a more effective recycler

1.      Wrap sandwiches in greaseproof paper, not cling film — or pick up a reusable sandwich box instore

2.      Reuse small plastic pots for storing items such as salad dressings

3.      Keep ingredients and leftovers in glass jars or plastic storage boxes

4.      Use paper straws for your drinks instead of plastic ones

5.      Remember to take reusable bags when you go shopping

6.      Buy a reusable coffee cup — even cardboard ones can have a plastic coating inside, so can’t be recycled

7.      Choose products that come in recyclable containers, then recycle them afterwards

8.      Rinse food packaging to remove any residue before recycling it

9.      Check labels to see if packaging is recyclable in your area; if you’re not sure, go to recyclenow.com