Our environment

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How we're making a difference...

We’re doing lots of work across Lincolnshire Co-op to help look after our environment. From innovative products to new services, here’s an insight into how we’re going green.


Making packaging recyclable

We look at our packaging in a different way from many other retailers. We report how many products have easily recyclable packaging, whereas many other organisations base their recycling targets on weight. We believe weight doesn’t show the true picture – for example, glass, which is widely recycled, is heavier than many plastics.

Our Co-op buying group aims to make 80% of our products’ packaging recyclable by 2020. Currently, 74% of Co-op own brand products have recyclable packaging. Recent initiatives include switching polystyrene pizza bases to cardboard and simplifying trays used for meat and fish so that they’re made from just one type of plastic.

Find out more about packaging on Co-op own brand products here.


Cutting food waste

To cut food waste, we sell products that are past their best before date at reduced prices. We’re displaying signs on our shelves to help make these products easy to spot. 

The best before date is given by the manufacturer to tell consumers how long a product is at its very best, but some products can be sold and used past this date. They are ‘ambient’ products – cans, tins, packets – and some fresh products like fruit and veg. Use by dates, on the other hand, state when a product must be consumed by. These are products such as meat, fish and dairy. 

So far, this scheme has seen waste drop by 37%. 

Food Surplus 2


Using green energy

All the energy we use in our outlets is green – we’re powered by wind farms and hydro-electric stations. We also look at ways to reduce energy use wherever possible. 

We use energy-efficient LED lighting in many of our buildings, and many of our outlets have a management system that regulates lighting and heating, and monitors energy use, flagging up issues if it increases unexpectedly.

We all know that closing the door in our homes saves energy – and the same is true in our food stores. We have doors on fridges that reduce energy consumption by around 20%. 

We’ve also won a national award for trialling a new type of refrigeration in our Gibbet Nook Food Store and Filling Station. Traditionally, so-called HCFC gasses have been used for cooling, but this system uses carbon dioxide, which has a much lower impact on global warming.

In Scawby and Sincil Street, we’ve opened food stores with CO2 heat-reclamation systems. Not only does this system use more environmentally friendly gas, it reuses energy produced by the refrigeration process to heat the store.

Eco Fridge Door Sleaford Food Store 22


Supporting electric vehicles

We’re working with BP Chargemaster to introduce electric car charging points at some of our outlets. 

Charging points are now installed and live at the following stores: Old Leake, Albert Street in Newark, Long Bennington, Alford, Morton near Gainsborough, Dunholme, Coningsby, Winning Post Filling Station in Lincoln and Caistor.

The charge points are rapid, meaning that an average electric car will get a 40-mile charge in around 20 minutes. 

We hope that by making electric charging an option at our outlets, we’ll lead by example and encourage more businesses to do the same, so electric cars will become a more viable option for people living in our area.

Charging Point 3


Offering eco alternatives

More people are considering the environment when arranging their funerals, and our most affordable coffins are eco-friendly. 

Called LifeArt Earthcare, they are made from recycled woodpulp, which uses 80% fewer trees than a traditional coffin. Inside each panel is a honeycomb structure that reduces the material used while being incredibly strong. Each coffin releases around 97% fewer harmful emissions when cremated, too.


Recycling old clothes

Clothing and textiles are the UK’s fastest growing household waste stream with hundreds of thousands of tonnes going to landfill each year.

We have clothing recycling banks on 48 of our sites where people can drop off their bags full of donations. They’re provided by the Salvation Army Trading Company Ltd – the trading arm of The Salvation Army.

Find out more about our clothing recycling banks here. 

Clothing Bank 1


Listening to you

Interested in these issues? We hold Environment Forums for our members each year and organise volunteering events to help spruce up our local area. For updates on these or to find out the latest, join our Environment mailing list by emailing: environment@lincolnshire.coop

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