Co-op Group replaces polystyrene pizza discs with recyclable cardboard

The retailer is tackling recycling issues by changing packaging materials

The Co-op Group is changing its pizza packaging to prevent 200 tonnes of polystyrene boards going to landfill. The Group, which has a target of making 80% of its own-brand packaging recyclable by 2020, will change the polystyrene pizza discs in all 17 of its own-brand products to corrugated cardboard.

The move will create nearly 450 tonnes of cardboard for recycling each year, according to the retailer.

The Co-op Group is changing the polystyrene pizza discs in all 17 of its own-brand products to corrugated cardboard

“Pizza discs have been high on our priority list for some time,” said Iain Ferguson, environment manager at the Group, “and we’ve been working hard to find the right replacement.

“This change is a major step in our journey to make all of our packaging easy to recycle, and we will be making further announcements on packaging in the months ahead.”

The cardboard discs are manufactured by Stateside and weigh over 60% less than their nearest competitor, making them the lightest on the market. The Group has already changed its mushroom packaging from black to blue plastic, which can be widely recycled, and has changed the plastic used for cooked meat trays to a single material. The retailer will be moving from black plastic to card packaging for tomatoes laster this year.

Recycling is the subject of a joint board and Council motion put forward at the Group’s AGM, which is taking place on 20 May. The motion states: “This AGM recognises that while 85% of Co-op Members say that packaging recyclability is important to them currently two thirds of packaging in the UK on consumer goods goes unrecycled. Therefore, this AGM:

  • supports our Co-op’s aim to make 100% of our packaging easy to recycle, with an interim target of 80% easy to recycle by 2020;
  • encourages our Co-op to work with people across the industry to seek better ways to package food and maximise the amount of packaging handled by recycling facilities in the UK; and
  • agrees our Co-op should inform and guide shoppers about the positives and challenges behind recycling.”

The subject will also be covered at an AGM fringe event, which will explore the wider recyclability issue, the recycling journey, recyclability vs convenience and increasing recyclability

“In November we announced our long term ambition; for all of our packaging to be recycled where it can be,” said the Group.

“We have made a bold start by setting a target that by 2020, 80% of our products will have packaging that is easily recyclable. This year we are asking our members to vote at our AGM for continued support to improve the recyclability of packaging, encourage other organisations do more and help shoppers understand the positives behind recycling.”

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