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Co-op to switch all of bottled water to 50% recycled plastic

PKBR Staff Writer Published 02 April 2018

The Co-op supermarket in the UK is planning to use 50% recycled plastic (rPET) for all of its bottled water in a move which is expected save about 350 tonnes of plastic annually.

The firm plans to switch its own-brand still, sparkling and flavored water to 50% recycled plastic bottles, and present ethically-conscious shoppers a clear alternative.

The supermarket said that the move would test if today’s environmentally-conscious consumer is ready to ditch more aesthetically pleasing packaging.

The new bottles, which are 100% recyclable and sourced in the UK, will have a darker, greyer and cloudier appearance compared to those that do not contain recycled plastic.

The Co-op said it supports the government’s deposit return scheme to help increase the overall recycling of packaging.

Co-op environment manager Iain Ferguson said: “Suppliers are working hard to make the bottle clearer – and they already have – in the meantime, our bottles will wear this greyish color which I see as a ‘badge of honour’ – we are part of the market for recycled products, and we are proud of that.

“We’re also very pleased that plans for the proposed deposit return scheme have been formally unveiled. It’s a vitally important move in encouraging greater rates of recycling across the country and we welcome any measure which is designed to make recycling simpler and more accessible for consumers.”

Planned to be made available in stores later this year, the new bottles are expected to save up to 350 tons of plastic per year.

Co-op Food CEO Jo Whitfield said: “We know that by working closely with our supply and waste-value chains we can find new ways of sourcing sustainable alternatives.

“Our customers expect us to respond to this challenge and help them make more ethical choices, and we’re dedicated to doing just that.

“Making these changes will also create new uses for recycled materials which in turn gives our customers greater confidence in recycling.”

Co-op said it would also clear its aisles of “vanity” black, and dark colored plastic by 2020 as plastic is considered to be harder for sorting machines to detect due to its pigment, and contaminates the recycling stream and reducing the usefulness.

Image: Co-op’s new bottles will have a cloudier and greyer appearance. Photo: courtesy of Co-operative Group Limited/Andrew.