Climate Action

Co-op introduces biodegradable plastic bags

The Co-op have promised to replace all existing plastic bags with biodegradable alternatives.

  • 24 September 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

The Co-op have promised to replace all existing plastic bags with biodegradable alternatives.

The supermarket will ensure around 60 million plastic carrier bags are removed to allow the crossover for the eco-friendly versions.  The new bags will be the same strength and size and will remain at 5p.

They have also proposed to ban all of its single-use plastic to reduce its overall use of plastic over the next five years and aim for their own-brand packaging to be widely recyclable by 2023.

Jo Whitfield, Retail Chief Executive at 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.”

The Co-op also plan to reduce greenhouse emissions and tackle food waste.

However, Greenpeace have argued that the Co-op's announcement is not new or groundbreaking. 

Louise Edge, Senior Oceans Campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The coop has pledged to stop using non-recyclable plastic in their packaging, and this is a good thing. However, when you read the small print, they are actually only pledging to get rid of non-recyclable plastics, something other supermarkets have pledged to achieve by 2025. We urgently need a steep reduction in plastic waste of all kinds, and the coop could and should do better.”

This news follows Waitrose also phasing out all plastic bags by March 2019 in a bid to reduce plastic pollutions.

Photo Credit: Co-op