What happens to the soft plastic collected by the Co-op?

grey bin with blue label detailing types of plastics that can be put in

by Tricia Petri-Clark

Since July 2021 the Co-op has made bins available for customers to return all types of flexible plastic.  The section on Resource Use in the Co-op’s Sustainability Report 2021 explains:

We return this waste to our recycling partner’s advanced sorting facility in Birmingham (using empty delivery vehicles which are already returning cages, cardboard and other waste), where it is sorted into various polymer streams and sent on for recycling – all done within the UK. We now have 2,300 stores collecting this material at front of store, which is one store in each of our community areas.

Working with our recycling partner has provided key learnings on how we can continue to improve the design of these materials to improve recycling, for example, that metallised films like crisp bags can be recycled successfully, but that we should aim to remove PVDC and nylon…

…While we recognise that our biggest environmental impacts will come from changes in the way we source our ingredients, we also recognise that issues around recyclability of packaging, plastic pollution, and the reduction of food that goes to waste are also very important.

The report contains interesting information on how the Co-op is reducing packaging and making the packaging easier to recycle.



Happening soon