Co-op has called for quicker council action for food waste
Published: 22 Aug 2019

The nationwide supermarket chain, Co-op, has urged local authorities to take action for a quicker roll-out of food waste collections and acceptance of compostable bags as part of the service.

Issued in their statement on 17 August 2019, the Co-op said they are writing to every local authority in England that do not collect food waste, calling for an introduction of that service. As it is, weekly food waste collection is likely to be among the requirements for English Councils, under the government's Resources and Waste Strategy from 2023. The retailer has pointed to WRAP statistics, suggesting that around 156 English Councils, about 48%, currently do not have a kerbside food waste collection. They will also be urging councils to accept compostable carrier bags along with their food waste kerbside collection services, which are issued in many of Co-op's stores. 

The compostable bags themselves appeared in their ideas for 2018, after having announced its plans to roll-out single use compostable carrier bags to nearly 1,400 of its food stores, and now they believe that the distribution of single-use plastic bags could end if both of their requirements were met. The compostable bags would be best and if the local authorities began food waste collections from homes sooner, then they would have a real chance to implement this change. At the time, they added that the bags could be used as a food waste caddy liner once it was taken home, enhancing their re-usability, and so they rolled them out wherever this service was offered, making them the first national supermarket to make compostable bags available. 

If this system is properly implemented, it is believed that the result would remove near to 5 million plastic bags a month from going to landfill. Despite the positive proposals planned for 2023, that will be effective in seeing all homes receiving a weekly food waste collection, it is estimated that near to twice as much of the food could be saved and recycled into both energy and fertiliser, but only if the system was implemented quicker. 

Chief Commercial Officer of Co-op, Michael Fletcher, has said "the world is experiencing a climate crisis and we need to work together to avoid it. Accelerating action is the only way to mitigate and reduce impacts on our natural world, and to ensure stable food supply chains in the future".

"We are committed in helping our members and customers to make environmentally friendly choices and reducing the environmental impact of products is and always has been at the core of Co-op. That’s why we are writing to local authorities to encourage universal kerbside food waste collections and acceptance of compostable bags, sooner than 2023".