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The Midcounties Co-op has launched in-store recycling points for soft plastics in more than 200 branches. 

It means shoppers can deposit materials such as bread bags, ready meal lids and biscuit wrappers that are often not collected from UK councils

The society said the initiative would help customers dispose of these materials more easily.

“As a society, we’re committed to making change and encouraging our members and customers to work us with us to build a better environment for our future, and recycling is a big part of that,” said Midcounties Co-op corporate social responsibility manager Mike Pickering.

“We know that many of our customers and members want to do even more than they already are to help the planet, and the new recycling collection points are a great, convenient solution to help them with that.”

It comes as the Co-op recently rolled out recycling units for soft plastics to 1,500 stores in a bid to tackle plastic pollution.

That followed a trial at 50 stores in September. The group said the collection points would be in 2,300 sites by November.

The recyclable material is turned into post-consumer plastic granules, by Jayplas, which is then made into useful secondary products. These include bin liners, rigid products such as buckets, and material for the construction industry.

The retailer estimated that 300 tonnes of plastic bags and food wrapping could be collected per year once the bins were fully in place.

“As we face into an environmental crisis, we know from our feedback that there is a universal appetite for change,” said Co-op Food CEO Jo Whitfield. “Which is why we are making it easier for thousands of households to recycle all of their plastic food packaging.

“This will not only prevent unnecessary waste but also reduce plastic pollution. By offering a simple and convenient solution to an everyday issue, we believe we can help communities to make small changes, that together will add up to a big difference for our environment.”

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