At the prestigious Grocer Gold Awards this week we won a major award for leading the sector in our work towards making sure our own-brand packaging is easy to recycle and helping drive down plastic waste.

Our ‘Project Closed Loop’ campaign was hailed a “worthy winner” by the Grocer Gold judges and awarded ‘Green Initiative of the Year’ for the steps we’ve taken to replace unrecyclable packaging with sustainable alternatives.

Gold18_Winner_Green Initiative

For 14 years, The Grocer Gold Awards have been a symbol of quality and excellence in the retail sector and award winners are decided by a prestigious panel of independent judges, plus exclusively commissioned research from The Grocer and its partners.

Cathryn Higgs, Co-op’s Head of Policy, said:

 “As a leading ethical and responsible retailer, we have been working relentlessly for over three decades to minimise the environmental impact of our products. In the last 12 months, we have taken great strides to meet our plan to make 100% of our packaging recyclable and we are delighted to get endorsement from our industry peers at the very highest level.”

Here’s some of the fantastic work we’ve done in the last year to improve the sustainability of our packaging. We’ve:

  • simplified plastic trays used for raw meat, poultry and fish, making them easier to recycle and from just one plastic. We were the first UK retailer to take a comprehensive approach to make this change, a move which was publicly supported by many local authorities
  • transferred all core sliced cooked meat out of PVC into single material PET trays, again making them easier to recycle
  • changed the packaging on chocolate selections to use a clear, recyclable tray
  • replaced all polystyrene pizza boards in own brand pizzas with cardboard ones preventing over 200 tonnes of waste going to landfill
  • swapped black plastic for high-quality cardboard across our Irresistible Tomato range which increased recyclability of the product and also prompted a sales increase of over 30%
  • trialled biodegradable ‘green’ tea bags which could prevent nine tonnes of plastic from being dumped into household rubbish or, even worse, being spread on land every year
  • announced that we’ll remove all black plastic from our shelves by 2020 as well as launching plastic water bottles made from 50% recycled content
Featured in the lead image: Cathryn Higgs, Co-op’s Head of Policy
and Iain Ferguson, Co-op’s Recycling Manager


Join the conversation! 2 Comments

  1. Great to see that changes are being made across all products however, there could be an even bigger change, especially with the pizza’s. For example, Aldi do not use cardboard trays in some of their products.

  2. Cardboard pizza trays are still a problem. Many local authorities still won’t take cardboard at the kerbside if its had food on it. This includes pizza trays in shop bought and takeaways.

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Awards, Campaigning, Do what matters most, Food