The Midcounties Co-operative launches initiative to tackle single-use plastic

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The Midcounties Co-operative has launched a new initiative to help reduce single-use plastic.

1Change’ is designed to drive real change through The Midcounties Co-operative’s operations and through the collective actions of members and consumers. 

At the heart of the initiative is the roll-out of information point-of-sale material in 40 Co-op Midcounties Food stores.  The signs are placed throughout the aisles of the stores to inspire and guide consumers to make more informed and potentially different purchasing decisions, and change their behaviour around the disposal of single-use plastic.  Also highlighted in the signage are some of the key changes the Co-operative is making through its operations to reduce single-use plastic.

The highly visible material offers a range of simple suggestions to help customers at the point of purchase take a small step – 1Change – that can, collectively, make a big difference regarding single-use plastic consumption.

The 1Change strategy also incorporates The Midcounties Co-operative’s waste reduction objectives, which see it working towards a target to reduce waste in its operations by 20% by 2022, while maintaining its current 99% recycling rate.  Achieving this target will mean diverting 3,000 tonnes of operational waste from landfill and save it £200,000 per annum on costs.

Mike Pickering, Co-operative social responsibility manager, The Midcounties Co-operative, said: “We recently conducted a sample survey among our 700,000 members and the vast majority of respondents said reducing plastic is a high priority, so we’ve implemented the 1Change initiative to help us and them to do so.  1Change neatly encapsulates, in a single message, the possibility of real change when many actions co-operate to have a combined and powerful effect.

“We have been working hard to raise awareness of the important issues of waste, plastic and sustainability, as well as changing our own operations, and 1Change is designed to help us, our members and the next generation, deliver tangible results. 

“The introduction of the unique point-of-sale material in 40 of our Co-op Midcounties Food stores, will help inform and guide the public on single-use plastic and clearly signpost where they can make a change in their own purchasing or waste disposal behaviour.  We anticipate that people visiting our stores will become increasingly familiar with the 1Change logo, and hope they become inspired to take part in our collective efforts to create change for good.”

Some of the 1Change messages on display in store range from advising shoppers to bring in their own container to use at the deli counters, sharing information on Co-op products such as tomatoes that are now in cardboard packaging, through to choosing loose fruit and vegetables.

Other initiatives captured under 1Change include two pioneering initiatives at the Co-op Food store in Chipping Norton.  A reverse vending machine allows people to bring in their used plastic bottles and money will be donated to local primary schools, and an ‘eco bricks’ scheme enables people to bring in waste plastic to be used in the production of eco bricks for local projects.  These are reusable building blocks created by packing clean and dry used plastic into a plastic bottle to a set density.

The Midcounties Co-operative is also engaging the next generation through 1Change as part of its ‘Plastic is Not Fantastic’ schools programme, and it plans to engage with 50 schools and educational establishments by 2022.

To drive real results, The Midcounties Co-operative is encouraging people to get involved by making their own 1Change pledge to reduce single-use plastic.  They can do this by visiting: http://mid.coop/onechangepledge