THE Co-operative Group has claimed another UK 'first' by announcing that it is launching the country's only 100 per cent degradable plastic bread wrappers.
The Group this week took the wraps off its new packaging initiative following the recent `Shopping with Attitude` survey in which six out of 10 of the 29,500 people interviewed said retailers should use only degradable or bio-degradable materials.
Although just as strong and as safe as standard plastic bread wrappers, the Co-op degradable bread bags fully degrade to carbon dioxide, water and a small amount of organic residue after approximately four years. Standard plastic bread bags take 100 years or more to degrade.
Some 1.67 billion bread bags are produced in the UK each year. With each bag weighing an average of 6g, a massive 10,521 tonnes of waste are generated by bread bags every year ? equivalent in weight to 30 jumbo jets or 120 tanks.
Around 55 million Co-op brand loaves are sold each year, generating 346 tonnes of bread bags in household waste per annum.
Christine Clarke from the Co-operative Group said: `We are delighted to be the first UK retailer to bring this fully degradable bread bag to market. It is something our customers ? and the wider public ? will clearly welcome as it will help to reduce non-degradable waste.`
Added Ms Clarke: `Our survey into the ethics of supermarket products demonstrated that on every count ? including packaging ? consumers are more concerned today than they were 10 years ago.
`As a result of this, we have committed to introducing more environmentally-sound packaging, such as degradable and bio-degradable materials, across our range by taking advantage of technological developments. This initiative clearly demonstrates this commitment.`
The Shopping With Attitude report can be accessed via www.co-op.co.uk.