The Co-op is replacing single-use carrier bags with clever compostable ones as part of a major plan to get rid of plastic waste. The new (literally) green shopping bags can be reused at home as liners for your food waste caddy, but are strong enough to carry your groceries from the bus stop.
You'll see the new 5p bags at almost 1,400 Co-op food branches in the first phase of the roll-out, in areas currently served by council food waste collections. The retailer says it 'will be speaking with the remaining local councils to seek to extend coverage to more stores' too.
Furthermore, the Co-op says it will stop using black and dark plastic packaging like ready meal trays – which are notoriously hard to recycle – for its own-brand products by 2020, will use a minimum of 50 per cent recycled plastic in its bottles, trays, pots and punnets by 2021, and make all of its own-brand packaging 'easy to recycle' by 2023.
"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," says Jo Whitfield, Retail Chief Executive, Co-op.
"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."
We could be hearing more news from the Co-op following the release of its Future of Food report later this week, which could make it easier to be a sustainable shopper.