Co-op uses office waste to launch 100% recycled product

Co-op is using discarded office waste to launch the UK’s first own-brand kitchen towel made from 100% recycled content.

Made from recycled cardboard fibres and other paper materials, the new line will save 230 tonnes of pure pulp and will be rolled out to 1,000 Co-op stores in early 2024.

Working closely with its supplier, WEPA, the convenience retailer is the first in the UK to offer 100% recycled kitchen roll; which uses a new blend of recycled materials composed of 70% cardboard fibres and 30% other office waste.

“This product directly supports a circular recycling economy, which we champion at Co-op, helping us to achieve our sustainability goals,” said Co-op technical manager Janet Lawrence.

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Pre-pandemic, confidential office waste was the main source used to create recycled paper products.

Since 2020 however, changes to working behaviours have seen the amount of sorted office waste available drastically decline. Co-op has used brown cardboard from boxes as the new fibre source,  which gives the kitchen towel its pale beige colour.

“The clever use of cardboard fibres, which are more abundant in UK post-pandemic, is such a great message,” Lawrence added.

According to WEPA, the current recycled kitchen roll market equates to only 1.3% of total UK sales*.

“Pure pulp remains an essential part of the supply mix when sourced from FSC-certified forests,” said a spokesperson.

“However, using recycled cardboard fibres is a great way to utilise an increasingly abundant raw material that would otherwise be discarded at the end of its life.”

The move follows several sustainability initiatives from the Co-op, including the removal of plastic and glitter from its Christmas celebration range back in 2020 as well as making all own brand food packaging 100% recyclable.

Circular economyMaterials and packagingNewsRetail

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