UK-based grocery chain The Co-op has announced a ban of single-use plastics in its stores across the nation.
The single-use carriers will be replaced with compostable alternatives, which will still be priced at £0.05 each. This will see over 60 million plastic carrier bags being phased out as part of the initiative.
The new carrier bags can then be re-used for bin liners in food waste caddies where local governments provide the means for doing so.
The move is part of its commitment to reduce its overall use of plastics within the next five years, and the company will announce its larger commitment to sustainability in an ethical strategy to be declared later this week.
The company said: ” This will tackle plastic pollution as well as food waste, healthy eating, saving energy and trading fairly.”
The strategy will add to the Co-op’s plans to completely reduce the use of its own-brand unsustainable packaging, such as black plastic.
Jo Whitfield, retail chief executive of the Co-op, said: “The price of food wrapped in plastic has become too much to swallow and, from today, the Co-op will phase out any packaging which cannot be reused.
“The first step to remove single-use plastic, will be to launch compostable carrier bags in our stores. They are a simple but ingenious way to provide an environmentally-friendly alternative to plastic shopping bags.”
She added: “Our ban on single-use plastic is central to our new ethical blueprint. The Co-op was founded on righting wrongs, and we first campaigned to stop food fraud. Now we face huge global challenges and have created a recipe for sustainability to source responsibly, treat people with fairness and produce products which have minimal impact on the planet.
“We can’t do it alone, which is why partnerships are key to our plan.”
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