From buying British when you can, to making the most of your freezer, just a few little adjustments to your daily routine can make a big difference to the environment.
Here's to a more eco-friendly 2020...
1. Choose recyclable packaging - We are phasing out all non-recyclable plastics in Co-op branded packaging and replacing them with materials that can be reused or easily recycled. This move will save thousands of tonnes of waste from landfill. Our fantastic Irresistible pizzas already use cardboard trays - in fact, we were the first UK retailer to switch from non-recyclable polystryrene.
2. Try a Flexitarian Diet - Following a flexitarian diet - This means increasing your intake of plant-based foods, including lots of fruit and veg, to help you towards your 5 a day target. As a great starting point, check out some of the plant-based recipes on our recipes page and look out for the new GRO range of plant-based foods in our food stores.
3. Eat the seasons - Why bother? Well, take leeks, in season now: it means they're grown in the UK, so caused fewer CO2 emissions to reach you, plus they're at their tastiest, cheapest and most nutritious. Look out for future 'first taste' features for more information.
4. Rethink Palm Oil - Did you know that sustainable palm oil takes up to 10 times less land to produce than other types of oil, reducing defrostation and habit loss for wildlife? All the palm oil the Co-op uses is covered by one of the Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO) certification schemes, so you can be reassured the palm oil we use is from a sustainable source. The Palm Oil used in Co-op products is RSPO certified.
5. Support Fairtrade - Just by buying products with the Fairtrade Mark, you support farmers, workers and sustainable production around the world. Co-op branded tea, coffee, bananas and sugar are all Fairtrade - and 100% of the cocoa in Co-op branded products is sourced on Fairtrade terms. You'll find these products in all of our stores. We were the first to stock Fairtrade bananas and 'The Co-op' are the world's biggest seller of Fairtrade Wine.
6. Plan before you shop - Always go shopping with a list, so you only buy what you need. It just takes around 30 minutes to plan a week's meals and helps you to reduce your food waste. It could help to save the average family a whopping £70 a month ( Source. lovefoodhatewaste.com — search ‘why save food')
7. Keep it Fresh - Most UK fridges are set to 7 degrees celsius, but lowering that to 4 degrees celsius could increase the lifespan of your produce by up to three days (Source: V. wrap.org.uk — search ‘impact fridge’) This helps prevent food waste and saves money, as you won't need to re-stock your fridge so often. Check use-by and best before dates on packaging: use-by, always on fresh food, means it will go off after that date and shouldn't be eaten; best before, on storecupboard foods, for instance tells you when it's at its peak, but there's no end date because there's less risk to your safety.
8. Buy British - Choosing locally grown food is a simple way to reduceyour carbon footprint and support British farmers, local producers and local communities. Our customers have told us that where their food comes from is important to them, as well as the issue of animal welfare. The Co-op are already working with 2,000 UK farms and 500 UK-based suppliers to extend the range of British fruit and vegetables on our shelves. So next time you're out shopping, think about supporting our local producers.
9. Food's not rubbish - When food ends up in landfill, it decomposes and can break down in a way that causes greenhouse gasses. Check out www.lovefoodhatewaste.com for tips, recipes and advice.
10. Love your freezer - Get into the habit of freezing food more often. There are plenty of everyday things you can store this way before they go off, such as milk, bread, cheese, cooked meat and even eggs (not the shell). Wrap them up well or use an airtight container, then defrost thoroughly before use.
11. Use Less Paper - From ebook readers to electronic bills, there are plenty of ways to cut down on paper. You can get your receipts emailed, and put a 'no junk mail' on your door. If you must print, use both sides of the paper to save 50%.
12. Switch Energy Supplier - Think about changing to an eco-energy supplier. It'll mean some, or all, of the electricity you use is from renewable source, such as a wind farm or hydroelectric power station. Look for green suppliers near you at ww.uswitch.co
13. Good Recycling - It's really important to rinse all food packaging to remove as much residue as possible before putting it in the recyling bin. Otherwise. it could be rejected and sent to landfill or incinerated. Dirty containers could also contaminate clean materials, meaning they will have to be scrapped too.
14. Is it recyclable? - Knowing all the things you can - as well as all the things you can't - put in your recyling bin can be fairly confusing at times. It varies from area to area, so check the information on your local council's website, or head over to www.recyclenow.com The Co-op are working towards making all of our own-branded food packaging easy to recycle. You can be assured of this when you see the 'widely recycled' label.
15. Clean without cruelty - When shopping for cleaning and beauty products, opt for brands that haven't been tested on animals. We believe that testing toiletries, cosmetics or household products on animals is inhumane and unnecessary. That's why all relevant Co-op branded products, from washing up liquid to deodrants, carry the Cruelty Free International certication, making it easy for you to choose kinder options. The Co-op has stocked cruelty-free products for over 25 years.