We removed carrier bags from the front of our checkouts and kiosks and at the same time made our reusable and recyclable bags easier for customers to find

We introduced a range of reusable bags for our customers to use as alternatives to single use bags

We have created training for our colleagues to help them understand why it is better to encourage the use of reusable bags, whilst ensuring the needs of our customers are met 

We have introduced recycling facilities for all our carrier bags across our store estate wherever space allows.

We remind customers to bring their own shopping bags by placing a permanent sign saying "don't forget your carrier bags" outside as many of our food stores as possible

Our bag range

Single use carrier bags

Incur a 5p legal charge (levy) in England, Wales, Northern Ireland and Scotland.

Isle of Man currently has no plan to introduce a charge.

Made from 100% PE (polyethylene).

Recycle in bins at selected larger Co-op Food stores.

Ideally reuse as many times as possible as shown on the bag design itself before disposal.

In 2013 we gave away or sold via a legal charge just over 632 million bags. (England 532million (84%), Scotland 96million  (15%), Wales 13million (1%),  Northern Ireland 1 million (0.2%)).

Bag for life

Price, 10p in all regions of the UK except Northern Ireland (15p).

All profits (excluding the legal charge which is applicable in Northern Ireland) donated to community projects across the whole of the UK. (This bag  incurs a legal charge of 5p as of 19th January 2015 in Northern Ireland. The price there is now 15p as a result of the legal charge.)

Made from 80% recycled PE (polyethylene).

When worn out will be replaced for free in store.

Recycled at all stores via in store recycling of PE film.

Reuse 5 times to improve on the environmental impact of a single use bag.

Fold away bag

Price £1 (All profits plus any legal charge donated to community projects across the whole of the UK).

Available in two colours.

Ideal for keeping in handbags and pockets, perfect for a convenience shopping trip.

Made from 100% recycled PET (recycled bottles).

Can be recycled at end of life at textile recycling banks managed by The Salvation Army (find your local recycling bank here). PET recyclate can be used to make fleeces.

Only reuse 40 times to improve on the environmental impact of a single use bag.

Compostable bag

Price, 6p (does incur the legal charge).

Available only in Co-op Food stores in Local Authority/Council areas that accept food waste collections. Currently in 848 stores covering 114 Councils in England and 15 in Scotland.

Made from compostable polymer and starch.

Designed-in second use as a food waste caddy liner or in home composting bins.

Large shopper

Price £1 (All profits plus any legal charge donated to community projects across the whole of the UK).

Attractive on message design, perfect for everyday use.

Made from 100% recycled PET (recycled bottles).

Can be recycled at end of life at textile recycling banks managed by The Salvation Army (find your local recycling bank here). PET recyclate can be used to make fleeces.

Only reuse 52 times to improve on the environmental impact of a single use bag.

Small shopper

Price £1 (All profits plus any legal charge donated to community projects across the whole of the UK).

Attractive on message design, perfect for everyday use. Can be used as a bottle bag as well as a small shopping bag.

Made from 100% recycled PET (recycled bottles).

Can be recycled at end of life at textile recycling banks managed by The Salvation Army (find your local recycling bank here). PET recyclate can be used to make fleeces.

Only reuse 52 times to improve on the environmental impact of a single use bag.

How we're making our bags the best

We’re making our new re-usable carrier bags even more environmentally friendly.

For the past few months our store colleagues have been carefully separating the polythene from the packaging that keeps our products safe in transit, which has been reused to make our new bags for life.

Now 80% of each bag is made with the recycled plastic, and following customer feedback, we’ve made our single-use carrier bags stronger while keeping them at the same price and protecting the amount of money that goes to good causes.

  • One tonne of recycled plastic will make 34,000 bags

  • Shoppers use just under 600,000 bags for life every week – or over 30 million a year

How we’re giving back to your community

We’ll be launching our new Co-op membership in the autumn with exciting benefits for you and your community. By 2018, more than £100m a year will go directly to members and their communities through our new Local Community Fund (1% for your community when you buy Co-op products and services).

Where does your 1% go?

  • 1% of everything you spend on Co-op products and services goes into your membership account

  • You can then choose (by logging onto your membership account or calling the membership contact centre) to give your 1% to one of three causes in your community, or any of the 4,500 causes identified across the UK

  • You can change your mind at any time. If you don’t choose at all your 1% will be split between the three causes equally

Money from the sale of our 5p carrier bags and our reusable bag range will also be used to ‘top up’ the funding for each cause (in England). So that’s even more for your community!

Where are we now?

 

Single use carrier bags sold 2015-2016 financial year (£k)

 

England*

Wales

N.I
(paid to DOENI)

Scotland

Quantity

62,424,146

5,610,440

1,470,804

20,821,968

Turnover

£3,133

£281

£74

£1042

VAT

£522

£45

£12

£169

Net Sales

£2,611

£235

£62

£873


* Introduced part way through financial year

 

Single use carrier – previous years Net Sales (£k)

 

Wales

NI
(paid to DOENI)

Scotland

2011-12

£101

NA

NA

2012-13

£241

NA

NA

2013-14

£239

£47

NA

2014-15

£230

£51

£451

 
* Introduced part way through financial year

 Total donations to ‘community’ to date (£k)

England

Wales

N.I
(paid to DOENI)

Scotland

I.O.M

FROM MEMBER LAUNCH

£674

£207
(includes VAT)

£767

FROM MEMBER LAUNCH

 

The above figures do not include actual funds generated from our re-usable bag range which will also be donated to good causes, these figures will be available from September 2016.

Carrier bag charges

Please find below details of the carrier bag levy within each UK nation and when each was introduced. To support the levy and reduction of single use carrier bags, we’ve developed a new range of reusable bags perfect for a convenience shopping trip as outlined above. The range of reusable bags rolled out across the UK from March 2015. 

We have gone one step further however. In line with our purpose of ‘championing a better way of doing business for you and your communities’ we have committed not only to reinvesting the net proceeds from the legal change to support good causes in communities but also, as a community retailer, we are adding all profits from our reusable bag range to the legal charge proceeds, enhancing the benefits for communities.

England

  • 5p introduced in Oct 2015 for single use carrier bags.
  • We donate the profits (including the 5p charge) from all our bags to community projects across the UK.
  • We introduced a range of longer life reusable bags on 18th March 2015 so that we could give even more back to the community.

Scotland

  • 5p introduced in Oct 2014 for single use carrier bags.
  • We donate the money from the charge to community projects in line with Scottish Parliament legislation.
  • Our trial project, Co-op Local Fund, gave £766,990 of funding to local causes (everything from day care centres to schools and scout groups) in Scotland in January 2016.

Northern Ireland

  • 5p introduced in April 2013 for single use carrier bags.
  • All money raised from the legal charge in our stores is sent to the Northern Ireland exchequer who distributes the money to good causes of their choice.
  • In Jan 2015 a legal charge was introduced on all bags under 20p to try and encourage the use of longer life reusable bags. Our bag for life now costs 15p, including the legal charge.

Isle of Man

  • No legal charge.
  • In Jan 2015 we introduced the range of longer life reusable bags.
  • We donate the money from our reusable bag range to community projects across the Isle of Man.

Wales

  • 5p introduced in April 2011 for single use carrier bags. We donate the money from our resuable bag range to community projects across Wales.
  • Profits from the legal charge have been supporting Welsh Wildlife Heroes in partnership with Wildlife Trusts Wales.