In stores, we are becoming more sustainable everyday with many changes to the way we operate over the years. 2020 has seen us open our first plastic free shopping store with other changes happening behind the scenes in our existing stores.

Food Waste is one of our biggest focus areas, limiting the amount which is thrown in the bin on a daily basis, the focus has been on tighter controls and ordering. Our system orders what we expect to supply to customers and has proven an asset in 2020 in keeping food waste to a minimum. In addition any waste which now leaves does so with a new return process to Co-op, General waste and Food wastes are separated on return along with our Cardboard and Plastic recycling which was already in place.

Take a look at our Energy page to help understand where we look to be more efficient for us and the environment.

Recycling is a huge part of our business and day to day routine. With plastic and Cardboard recycled daily, we also encourage customer to bring a bag with them. Some stores have already stopped selling plastic bags, instead offering a degradable one. All of our shops have a cloth bag option for customers who wish to have something to be able to use again.

How to have a more Christmas

While I love decorating the house for Christmas, there’s no denying that behind every fairy light and plastic bauble is a not-so-magical environmental cost. So, I’m very excited to share that Co-op has removed plastic, as well as glitter, from all its Christmas cards, gift wrap, gift bags and crackers – which cuts out the use of eight tonnes of plastic!
Dressing up your home and gifts for Christmas can produce a considerable amount of waste. So I’m excited that Co-op can help with the changes we’ve made to our products. And with a few small changes, we can make a big difference!
Below are some tips and tricks for having a more sustainable Christmas, including homemade eco-friendly decoration ideas.

1. Reuse your Christmas decorations  
If you’re planning to buy decorations this year, try and invest in ones you know you’ll use for years to come (and can be recycled). Our tree is always filled with decorations that our children have made over the years. You can pick up some brilliant second-hand options in charity shops, too, to add a touch of vintage glamour to your home. Plus, there’s more than one way to use a bauble! Place them along a shelf or mantelpiece, arrange on a table for a pretty place setting, or use to fill a transparent vase for a fantastic festive feature.

2. Choose your tree wisely 
A Christmas tree is a festive staple in most households and, while they look gorgeous, it’s important to source and dispose of them responsibly. Try to buy a locally sourced tree, which will have a lower carbon footprint and will help support small businesses. And don’t forget to recycle your tree come January – most local councils offer a tree collection date to save you the hassle.

3. Buy the right crackers but still have fun  
Christmas crackers are often filled with plastic toys and can’t be recycled, so switch to Co-op’s fully recyclable Christmas crackers instead. Discover plastic-free or reusable games, colouring activities, recipes and a metal cookie cutter inside. Pick up a box of classic crackers, which are perfect for the whole family to enjoy, or opt for a box of luxury gold beauties;– all now 100% recyclable.

4. Recycle cards and wrapping paper 
While sending Christmas cards and presents to loved ones is a wonderful thing to do, it also generates a lot of wasted paper. Plus, cards with glitter and decoration cannot be fully recycled. That’s why Co-op has removed all plastic and glitter from its Christmas cards, crackers and wrapping paper, saving eight tonnes of plastic and ensuring they’re easy to recycle. Make sure you do your bit, too, and dispose of any paper waste responsibly!

Eco-friendly Christmas decorations to make at home 

Paper snowflakes and paper chains 

Grab yourself some recyclable paper and a pair of scissors and have a go at making pretty cut-out paper snowflakes. They’re a brilliant way of using up leftover wrapping paper and the possibilities are endless! Play around with different designs and hang them up around the house.
Alternatively, cut up recyclable paper into long, thin strips and loop together to make paper chains! It’s better to stick the ends together with water-based glue rather than tape, so you can recycle them when you want to take them down – but don’t use latex-based adhesives or superglue.

Gingerbread baubles 

There certainly won’t be any waste leftover with these tempting gingerbread baubles hanging on your tree. Whip up a batch of gingerbread star biscuits, remembering to cut out a small hole at the top of each before baking. Then, simply thread some string or ribbon through each hole for hanging on the tree.
Tip: use different biscuit cutters to create your favourite Christmas shapes, such as trees, gingerbread men and snowmen. 

Fruit garland  

Thinly slice oranges and arrange on a lined baking tray, then bake in the oven on a low heat for up to an hour until completely dried out. Once cool, thread some festive ribbon through the centre of each slice to make a fruity garland, then simply hang wherever you please!

Table settings 

Use coloured string or ribbon to tie together cinnamon sticks and woody herbs (try rosemary or thyme). They’ll add a wonderful fragrance to the room and look fantastic arranged on plates, alongside folded napkins. Or venture into the great outdoors to look for fresh holly, pinecones and green foliage for decorating the table or making a homemade festive wreath!