By providing water from recycled plastic bottles, which are gray, Co-op Food wants to test their clients to leave the aesthetics aside on behalf of sustainability

Co-op Food, the business unit that accounts for stores that sell food from the UK consumer cooperative movement, has plans to switch all of its bottled water to 50% recycled plastic. This move is set to test whether today’s consumer are ready to ditch aesthetically pleasing packaging.

The bottles – themselves 100% recyclable and sourced in the UK – do appear darker, greyer and cloudier than those using less or no recycled plastic. Co-op has around 4.6M active Members, and last year, they overwhelmingly backed its ambition for 100% of its product packaging to be easily recyclable.

In a statement released by the company, the Co-op estimates that it can save almost 350 tons of plastic annually when it makes the change on all of its own brand still, sparkling and flavored water. According to the company, reducing the environmental impact of products is at the core of the Co-op’s efforts.

Earlier this year, the Co-op confirmed it was in favor of the creation of a deposit return scheme (DRS) to increase the overall recycling of packaging. In this case, the customer receives a small amount of money for returning the bottles for recycling.

Recycling is one of the future for plastic

The Co-op plans to rid its dark colored plastic aisles by 2020. This plastic is harder to detect by sorting machines due to its pigment and also contaminates the recycling stream, reducing the usefulness and value of the recovered material.

Jo Whitfield, Chief Executive of the Co-op Food, said: “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.”

Iain Ferguson, Co-op Environment Manager, added that suppliers are working hard to make the recycled PET (rPET) bottle clearer, and they have already improved a lot, however, it is not yet very clear. “In the meantime, our bottles will wear this greyish color which I see as a ‘badge of honor’ – we are part of the market for recycled products, and we are proud of that.””

Content published in April 5, 2018

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