Local MP Dr Thérèse Coffey backs East of England Co-op waste reduction scheme

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Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey MP has paid a visit to the East of England Co-op to discuss the independent retailer’s latest waste reduction efforts.

Joint Chief Executive at the East of England Co-op, Roger Grosvenor, met with the local MP at the Nacton Road forecourt store in Ipswich.

Last year the East of England Co-op launched the hugely successful ‘Co-op Guide to Dating’ scheme which saw it become the first major retailer to sell products past their Best Before dates. The acclaimed scheme has proved popular with customers and led the industry in the fight against food waste.

At the visit on Friday 23rd February, Dr Coffey discussed the success of the food waste scheme and was introduced to a new pilot scheme aimed at reducing usage of single-use plastics.

A ‘bottle for life’ trial has launched at two East of England Co-op stores; Nacton Road forecourt in Ipswich and a food store at Norwich Station. Replacing 500ml single-use still water plastic bottles, customers will instead be able to purchase an eco-friendly bottle for life, which can be refilled with filtered, chilled or flavoured water. If the bottle needs replacing, the East of England Co-op will exchange it free for charge and ensure that the returned bottle is recycled. The ‘water refill station’, which will accept cash and contactless, will also allow customers the opportunity to rinse and refill their own water bottles.

The trial began on the 16th February and will run for 12 weeks in the two stores providing customers with an eco-friendly alternative to single-use plastic bottles. The bottle for life, designed for regular re-use, will be available at a one-off cost of £2.49 with a free refill, with all refills thereafter costing 50p.

Roger Grosvenor, Joint Chief Executive of the East of England Co-op, commented: “It was a pleasure to receive Dr Coffey at our Nacton Road forecourt store and introduce her to our latest initiative as we strive to responsibly reduce waste.

“After the popularity of the Co-op Guide to Dating, we hope that customers at our trial stores will get behind this new scheme.”

Environment Minister Thérèse Coffey said: “The world has woken up to the terrible impact single use plastics have on our environment and by using refillable bottles we can each make a genuine difference, cutting our plastic use and helping to protect our precious marine life.”

For more information on the East of England Co-op and its waste reduction initiatives, visit www.eastofengland.coop.