The British supermarket chain Co-op will launch a system for collecting plastic bags and flexible packaging in 1,500 stores by the end of July. Customers will be able to bring bags and food packages, whether they bought the product in that supermarket chain or in another. Among the acceptable packages are those made of bread, chips, lids from boxes in which takeaway meals are packed, biscuit wrappers.

The collected material will then be processed by the plastic recycling company Jayplas. The obtained pellet can be used for construction materials, as well as for solid plastic products, such as buckets. The supermarket claims to create the widest plastic collection network in stores in Europe. After the first 1,500 facilities, several hundred more locations are expected to be available to customers by the end of November. The final number of stores to which packages can be returned will be 2,300.

Consumers are ready to return packages to stores

According to the trader, they designed this system to help consumers cope with confusing rules. There is no single set of rules on what local authorities should collect from households for recycling. Flexible plastic is often excluded from this process. Due to its low weight, it often costs more to process it mechanically than recyclers would earn from the obtained material.

And that the citizens are in the mood for recycling, Co-op determined based on the test that was conducted last year. The poll proved that it would 86 percent of customers were ready to return the packages back to the store. The NGO WRAP welcomes this market decision.

– There is no doubt that unnecessary plastic should be reduced, including bags and wrappers that make up a fifth of consumer plastic packaging. However, it is necessary for it to be designed for recycling and to provide recycling systems. It is great that Co-op offers this option in its stores and that it will process all the material within the UK, which shows that we can make a better future for the economy and the environment – said Helen Bird, strategic technical manager of WRAP.

Co-op produces more than 750 million pieces of plastic film annually. Research by the Consortium for Flexible Packaging has shown that It puts 215 billion pieces of flexible plastic packaging on the British market every year and almost everything is sent to landfills or incinerators.

Co-op is not the only British retailer to announce a flexible plastic packaging collection system. Among the chains that announced this system are Sainsbury’s, Tesco, Aldi. Also, five leading manufacturers in the UK recently set up a flexible plastic recycling fund.

E2 portal (circular economy)

Source: E2 Portal by

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