East of England announces pilot partnership to encourage more recycling

COOP_Plastics-2.jpgThe East of England Co-op has announced a new partnership with Ipswich Borough Council which aims to improve understanding of and boost recycling rates in Ipswich.

The independent retailer will run an in-store trial to increase awareness of items that can and can’t be recycled, and will introduce recycling points for plastic packaging, carrier bags and batteries – items which can’t currently be recycled at home – in its 20 stores across Ipswich.

The idea for the partnership emerged when the co-op began planning how it could follow up on its award-winning ‘Co-op Guide to Dating’ initiative, where it became the first retailer to start selling products that were past their best before date, in a bid to reduce food waste.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive for the East of England Co-op explained:

 “The reaction to our Co-op Guide to Dating campaign inspired us to look at other ways we can help our customers to reduce waste. Whilst doing our research we became bamboozled by the complexities and misunderstanding around recycling, and set out to do what we could to provide some clarity.”

“Our Guide to Dating has cut the amount of food we waste by 33% - that’s around 350 tonnes in just over a year. But we wanted to do more, which is why we’re introducing this pilot scheme to help our customers and members to recycle more.”

Councillor Phil Smart from Ipswich Borough Council added:

“Reducing the amount of waste we generate is everyone’s responsibility, and it’s fantastic that the East of England Co-op are prepared to play such an active role. Helping people understand what and how they can recycle is complicated, and this partnership will be very helpful in addressing those challenges in Ipswich. Their initiative to cut food waste is an example to other stores. The less food we waste, the more we have to spend on other items and everyone gains.”

The partnership launches on 14th January 2019 and the trial will run until the middle of May 2019, before being rolled out across the whole Society.

  • Are you bringing back paper bags

    We have considered using brown paper bags, but when we have looked into it, the research by the Environment Agency appear to show that they have more of an environmental impact with four times the carbon footprint of thin plastic bags. Any changes we make needs to consider the whole impact on the environment, including the manufacturing, transport etc. of the bags we use. At this time we will not be changing to paper bags for fruit and vegetables, but we are reviewing and exploring the different alternatives that are and become available.

  • When will you remove all of the packaging from products

    The Co-op own brand products are made by a separate Co-operative to us; the Co-operative Society based in Manchester. They have reduced plastics where possible, but their main aim is to ensure that ALL plastic used on their own brand products are recyclable by 2023. They have made significant changes to products including changing the pizza disc to a sustainable cardboard version and thinning the plastic in the lids of the milk. They also removed many years ago the plastic in cotton buds and changed this to a sustainable paper.

    Find out more here. 

  • When will the fruit and vegetables be sold loose?

    The own brand fruit and vegetables come via the Co-operative society and our buying group with them. They have looked at different aspects including the research that shows that fruit and vegetables in these types of packaging can keep products fresher for longer. We then have to balance plastic with food waste. Their main aim is to make the packaging recyclable.

    We are also a convenience store with limited space, customers often want to pick things up and take them to the counter rather than put them in bags etc.

  • Why can’t we take all plastics?

    We are taking all the plastic we are able to recycle. Not all plastic is recyclable and not all recycling facilities recycle all plastics. 

  • What plastics are accepted?

    The Accepted plastics for recycling (this is an exhaustive list):

    • Plastic carrier bags (inc. bags for life)
    • Toilet & kitchen roll plastic packaging
    • Bread bags (not wax paper or heat-sealed bags from fresh bread as these cannot be recycled)
    • magazine wrap (not biodegradable wrap – these can be disposed of in general waste)
    • multi-pack film packaging

If you have any more questions relating to the packaging of the products we sell in store then please contact the Co-operative Society based in Manchester, who are responsible for the own brand products that we sell in our stores.

Telephone: 0800 0686 727