The Co-op has promised to replace all existing plastic bags with biodegradable alternatives
UK-based supermarket chain Co-op has said it will ensure around 60 million plastic carrier bags are removed to allow the crossover for the biodegradable versions.
The new bags will be the same strength and size and will remain at 5p.
The Co-op has 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 its 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 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 plans to reduce greenhouse emissions and tackle food waste.
However, Greenpeace has argued that the Co-op’s announcement is not new or groundbreaking.
Louise Edge, senior oceans campaigner at Greenpeace UK, said: “The Co-op 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 Co-op could and should do better.”
This news follows UK supermarket Waitrose also phasing out all plastic bags by March 2019 in a bid to reduce plastic pollution.
Fellow British supermarket Tesco has said it will scrap 5p single-use plastic bags and sell only durable 10p bags for life, and Asda has made a similar promise.
Meanwhile Lidl has promised to stop using black plastic packaging for its fruit and veg range by the end of the month and plans to remove non-recyclable packaging entirely by August 2019.