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The Southern Co-op has launched in-store recycling points for soft plastics in 29 branches.

It means shoppers can deposit materials such as cling film, biscuit wrappers and carrier bags that are often not collected from UK councils.

Once picked up from stores, the recyclable material is turned into post-consumer plastic granules, by Jayplas. It is then made into useful secondary products, including bin liners, rigid products such as buckets, and material for the construction industry.

The soft plastics recycling bins are currently available at the society’s stores including in Bournemouth, Bristol, Chichester, Horsham, Weymouth, Windsor and several locations in Hampshire. The retailer hopes to roll them out to more stores eventually, it said.

It follows in the footsteps of the Co-op, which rolled out the initiative to 1,500 stores in July after its own trials found that 86% of shoppers were likely to use the service.

“A lot of work has been done behind the scenes to reduce unnecessary packaging, and to switch to recyclable materials wherever possible,” said Southern Co-op COO for retail Simon Eastwood.

“This is the next step as it will mean all Co-op own brand packaging will be easier to recycle in store or via council kerbside collection.

“We would urge all our customers and members to make use of these new recycling points. Simply give it a quick clean, scrunch it up to test if it is soft plastic, and pop it into store. It doesn’t even have to have been bought in store to be recycled with us.”

Southern Co-op director of sustainability and communications Gemma Lacey said: “We are facing an environmental crisis so we are committed to taking urgent action and working towards a waste-free future.

“The appetite for change is there within our communities so, by making it easier for households to recycle all their plastic food packaging, we can prevent unnecessary waste, reduce plastic pollution and help people play their part in making a positive difference to our environment and our communities.”

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