Co-operative rolls out 'green' shopping baskets

The Co-operative Group has rolled out the UK’s first 100% recycled plastic shopping basket in its food stores. By the end of this year, 94,500 baskets will be in use […]

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By Kelvin Ross

The Co-operative Group has rolled out the UK’s first 100% recycled plastic shopping basket in its food stores.

By the end of this year, 94,500 baskets will be in use in around 1,000 Co-operative stores, saving 66 tonnes of plastic from landfill or incineration and 66 tonnes of CO2.

Eventually, all 3,000 Co-operative stores in the UK will have the baskets.

Co-operative Food’s commercial director Sean Toal said: “We’re proud to be at the forefront of green product innovation and we’re sure our customers will welcome the new generation of shopping baskets.”

The Co-operative Group is refitting 700 of its stores a year in a bid to cut a quarter of its energy consumption by 2012.

The UK business, which has 130,000 staff, was established in 1844 and has many old buildings. Its high street food business accounts for its biggest energy use.

Speaking at Sustainability Live in Birmingham, Alex Pitman, the Co-op’s energy and carbon manager, said: “We have a load of old, awkward sites that pose challenges.”

He explained how the company has installed more than 3,000 smart meters and is carrying out 700 store refits a year. “Every time we do a refit we do an energy assessment of the store,” said Pitman.

He added that while the just-introduced CRC regulations are “in the short term a mountain of administration”, it had given the Co-op “the opportunity to review our performance”.