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