Co-op go all out to tackle plastic problem

Chipping Norton’s Cooperative store has launched new initiatives that will not only reduce single-use plastic waste but put it to good use.

Friday, 29th March 2019, 2:10 pm
Updated Friday, 29th March 2019, 2:11 pm
The Co-op's Eco bricks scheme has been launched in Chipping Norton. Abbey Ballard demostrates how to make an eco brick NNL-190326-134722001

The Ecobrick programme was launched this week which will see plastic waste turned into reusable eco bricks.

The reusable building blocks are created by packing clean and dry single-use plastic into a 1.5-to-two-litre plastic bottle to a set density.

They are then used to make furniture, garden spaces and walls for the community.

The store will use waste from its back-of-house operations to make ecobricks and is also encouraging shoppers to bring in their own ecobricks which they can make at home as a way to recycle packaging .

Abbey Ballard, part of the sustainability team with the Mid-Counties Co-op, said: “We’ve started a new campaign called 1 Change that is all about tackling single-use plastic. It’s a massive issue both globally and within our local area.

“Ecobricks are a way of reusing single-use plastic so it doesn’t end up in a landfill or the ocean, it ends up in a bottle.

“You just get a bottle, fill it with soft plastics like crisp packets, wrappers, bubble wrap, carrier bags and fill it to the point so it’s very hard and stiff and then it acts like a brink.”

The ecobricks have been used to build structures from wells to buildings and the Chipping Norton Co-op have set a goal for two more local builds.

Abbey said: “We’re building a turkey pen at Fairytale Farm and hopefully some benches as well.”

The scheme has also allowed the co-op to invite school children to learn more about recycling and the plastic problem and encourage classroom workshops to make their own ecobricks.

For every quality brick created, the Co-op will donate £1 to the school.

The store has also installed a reverse vending machine which will again help reduce plastic waste whilst raising money for two Chipping Norton primary schools.

Abbey said: “For small bottles people can use the reverse vending machine. You just put your bottles in and for every 10,000 put in we’re donating £500 – £250 to St Mary’s and £250 to Holy Trinity.”

She added: “We want their big bottles and to do as many eco bricks as they can and drop them off here. We are hoping to set up a pick up point for empty bottles.”

Mike Pickering, Co-operative social responsibility manager, said: “The reverse vending machine and ecobricks projects will help ensure we are supporting local schools and community projects while also reducing the amount of single-use plastic that is disposed of.”

The store also allows shoppers to use their own containers for deli produce.