Co-op launch nationwide soft plastic recycling scheme

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Last week, nationwide retailer The Co-op launched an in-store recycling scheme for plastic bags and product wrapping.

The scheme will be operating in 2,300 stores by November, following a successful trial last year which found that 85% of shoppers were likely to use the service, which also accepts packaging for food products purchased from other retailers.

The scheme will recycle soft plastics and lightweight plastics often cannot be placed in home recycling bins. Plastics such as the film lids on yoghurt pots, ready meals and fruit punnets, as well as crisp packets, pasta bags and confectionary wrappers.

You can check to see whether you are able to recycle an item using the ‘scrunch test’ – if you scrunch up the plastic and it pings back, this means it’s a soft plastic and cane be recycled using the scheme.

All the recyclable material is turned into post-consumer plastic granules by Jayplas, which are then made into useful secondary products including bin liners, rigid products such as buckets and material for the construction industry. Recycling this plastic waste prevents it from ending up in landfill sites, being incinerated or shipped overseas.

These in-store units also accept packaging for food products purchased from other retailers. The Co-op estimates that 300 tonnes of plastic bags and food wrapping could be collected per year once the bins are fully in place.

Tesco are another major retailer also adopting an in-store recycling scheme for soft plastics. Trialled in the UK in 2018 with full rollouts later this year, it said customers had returned more than 10 times the expected amount of plastic, with bread bags, fruit and vegetable packaging and crisp packets topping list of returned packaging. Material collected in the trial has already been used to produce food-grade packaging for a selection of Tesco cheeses.

We are proud to work with retailers at the forefront of greener initiatives.

Together, we will #behardonsoftplastics

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