By Iain Ferguson, Environmental Manager
Last year we removed single-use plastic carrier bags from 1,069 Co-op stores, replacing them with our unique compostable carrier bags!
It’s wonderful to see our commitment to reducing plastics brought to life in our third summer ad this year. It shows how you’re doing good by the environment when you choose to take home our Irresistible ice cream in a 100% compostable bag.
Our bags are specially made to break down in the right environment; all they need is moisture, a little warmth and some bacteria. With this magical combination, the bags will form a compost that can be used as a soil improver. They completely biodegrade in compost systems that many councils use, but will work in your home compost bin too.
Having been involved in the development of the bags, I’m especially proud to see them take centre stage on primetime TV. A lot of hard work has gone into them – particularly our work with councils and waste collection crews, to educate them about the bags, so they start accepting them.
Their reception has been overwhelming so far, we knew they’d be popular, but we didn’t expect the reaction we’ve had. They’ve made an appearance on the BBC Breakfast sofa, 15 radio interviews and the newspaper coverage has been huge.
But this is just one of the things we’ve done to combat single use plastics. Our mission is to remove all plastics that aren’t recyclable or reusable from our products by 2023. Here are some of the other things helping us get there:
- We designed fully compostable sandwich boxes for Glastonbury, using a natural polymer liner that breaks down fully in a food waste system
- We’ve been testing out plastic bottle deposit and return machines at our festival pop-up shops
- We’ve got water refill points at our Piccadilly Approach and Leeds University Students’ Union stores – with more to come soon
- We’ve taken plastic straws out of our business and we’re changing the straws on our small juice cartons to paper
- We’ve changed our in-store flower buckets, making them reusable. This follows on from the work we did a few years ago to use returnable crates for fruit, vegetables, and protein packs
- We’ve just launched a new toilet soap in a recyclable paper wrapper. Solid soap lasts longer than liquid, and the perfume smells great too!
Get four quarter pounders and four bottles of Stella Artois for just £3.50
Following on from the return of our cracking pizza and beer deal, colleagues can now bag four British quarter pounders and four bottles of Stella Artois for just £3.50!
And our delicious vegan Incredible Burgers and CocaCola are included in the deal as alternatives to meat and alcohol.