Co-op will scrap single-use carrier bags for compostable ones

Co-op will scrap single-use carrier bags for compostable ones in more than half of its 2,500 UK stores

  • Will be replaced by biodegradable bags to be composted in food waste caddies
  • About 1,400 of Co-op’s 2,500 food stores across UK will be making the change
  • Step is part of plans to stop using single-use plastic products in its own brands 

The Co-op has said it will scrap single-use carrier bags in hundreds of stores by 2020, in another boost for the Daily Mail’s war on plastic.

They will be replaced by biodegradable bags that can be composted in food waste caddies.

About 1,400 of Co-op’s 2,500 food stores in England, Scotland and Wales will be making the major change in areas with food waste collections. 

About 1,400 of Co-op’s 2,500 food stores in England, Scotland and Wales will be making the major change in areas with food waste collections

It said the step was part of plans to stop using single-use plastic products in its own brands and lower the amount of plastic packaging it uses by 2023. 

Among other measures, the supermarket is to stop using hard-to-recycle materials such as black plastic food trays which are rejected by many recycling centres.

It is a boost for the Daily Mail, which has campaigned against plastic pollution for the past decade.


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The move comes as a BBC survey revealed that households across the country face 39 different sets of rules over what plastics they can recycle. 

The patchwork of rules is leading to confusion and waste, said the Corporation.

Co-op is the first supermarket to replace single-use plastic bags with compostable bags. 

However Tesco has said it will scrap 5p single-use plastic bags and sell only durable 10p bags for life, and Asda has made a similar promise.

Meanwhile Lidl has promised to stop using black plastic packaging for its fruit and veg range by the end of the month. 

And it plans to remove non-recyclable packaging entirely by August 2019. 

The UK Plastics Pact has been signed by giants including Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose

The Co-op has also promised to use a minimum of 50 per cent recycled plastic in bottles, pots, trays and punnets by 2021.

The compostable bags will cost 5p and replace standard single-use carrier bags of the same size and strength. 

It will mean 339 tonnes of plastic bags will be taken out of circulation, the store said. 

All own-brand black and dark plastic packaging will be eliminated by 2023.

Jo Whitfield, Co-op’s retail chief executive, said compostable carriers were a ‘simple but ingenious way to provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic…’

Aldi announced last month it would be replacing black plastic trays with clear recyclable alternatives. 

And Iceland said by 2023 it would no longer pack bananas in plastic.

Morrisons offers paper bags for customers for fresh produce while Waitrose is to use clear plastic lids on drinks bottles and has begun selling wine in a can. 

The UK Plastics Pact has been signed by giants including Aldi, Asda, Lidl, Tesco, Sainsbury’s and Waitrose. 

They vow to make 100 per cent of their plastic packaging reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

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