UK-based supermarket firm Co-op has announced plans to replace the single-use plastic solutions with environmentally-friendly compostable carrier bags, as part of its efforts to reduce plastic pollution.


Image: Co-op will replace single-use plastic solutions with environmentally-friendly compostable carrier bags. Photo: courtesy of Co-operative Group Limited.

The supermarket firm will eliminate around 60 million plastic carrier bags via phased rollout of an environmentally-friendly alternative solution.

Co-op has taken the step as part of strategy of banning the single-use own-brand plastic products and reduce the overall use of plastic packaging within five years, as well as prohibiting the use of hard to recycle materials such as black plastic.

The UK’s supermarket firm will provide lightweight compostable carrier bags to the customers at its 1,400 stores located in towns, cities and villages where the bags are accepted in food waste collections.

The compostable carrier bags can be used to carry shopping home and then be re-used as food waste caddy liners.

Co-op intends to make its own-brand packaging easy for recycling by 2023, and is also planning to use a minimum of 50% recycled plastic in bottles, pots, trays and punnets by 2021.

The firm is also planning to eliminate own-brand black and dark plastic packaging, including black ready meal trays, by 2020.

Co-op noted that its initiative to ditch single-use plastics will help increase recyclable packaging and materials.

The supermarket firm has already reduced the use of hard to recycle plastics such as pizza discs, sushi bases and cooked meat packaging.

Co-op retail chief executive Jo Whitfield said: The price of food wrapped in plastic has become too much to swallow and, from today, the Co-op will phase out any packaging which cannot be reused.

“The first step to remove single-use plastic, will be to launch compostable carrier bags in our stores. They are a simple but ingenious way to provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic shopping bags.

“Our ban on single-use plastic is central to our new ethical blue-print. The Co-op was founded on righting wrongs, and we first campaigned to stop food fraud.”

On 27 September 2018, Co-op will unveil the Future of Food report at a supplier conference, which will focus on topics such as food waste, fairtrade and energy.