The Co-op has announced it will only use 100% own-brand recyclable packaging by summer 2020.
It means everything from ready meal trays, crisps packets, to sandwich cartons and film will be easy to recycle via a kerbside collection or a closed-loop in house scheme.
The supermarket has also announced it will lead the largest-ever UK-wide scheme to recycle plastic film, which local councils do not currently collect for recycling.
The Co-op makes over 750 million pieces of plastic film each year and will develop its own national collection programme for the material. After a spring store trial, the scheme will be rolled out nationally across the retailer’s store estate by the summer.
The news follows the publication of the Co-op’s unique Ethical Consumerism Report which has tracked ethical expenditure year by year over the past two decades.
It reveals that ethical spending in the UK has increased almost four-fold in the past 20 years and outgrown all UK household expenditure which has grown by just over 2%.
The average spend on ethical purchases per household has grown from £202 a year in 1999 to £1,278 per annum in 2018.
Jo Whitfield, Co-op Food CEO, said: ‘We should rightly celebrate the growth that we’ve seen in ethical markets in the UK over the last twenty years.
‘UK businesses, and NGOs have pioneered many of these developments and today we have multi-billion pound markets that either didn’t exist or if they did, other mainstream businesses were unconvinced of their potential to succeed. It has also taken smart government intervention to get us this far.
‘Going forward, ethical consumerism will continue to play a pivotal role in the pursuit of more sustainable products, businesses and markets. However, now is not the time to rest on our laurels, it’s the time double down on our efforts.
Photo Credit – The Co-operative Group