The Co-operative Food knows its onions on packaging

August 20, 2012

The Co-operative Food has switched the packaging on its own-brand onion range to a recyclable material, enabling 32 tonnes more packaging to be recycled per year.

Changing the packaging on own-brand onions from polypropylene to polythene allows the bags to be recycled, providing a more environmentally responsible way of disposing of the packaging, which would have otherwise been destined for landfill. 

The change allows the onion packs to feature the industry-wide On-Pack Recycling Label - a move which was taken with the support of government organisation, WRAP, which promotes recycling and waste reduction in the UK.

Last year, The Co-operative recycled more than 2,921 tonnes of polythene, including plastic collected from recycling points at more than 1,000 of the retailer’s larger stores, and used it to produce bin bags and bags for life, which it replaces when worn out, free of charge.Onion

Switching the onion range is the latest in a wider move by The Co-operative Food to make more of its fresh produce packaging recyclable.  The efforts support the retailer’s wider target to divert the majority of operational waste from landfill, as part of The Co-operative’s ground-breaking Ethical Plan. 

Iain Ferguson, Environment Manager, The Co-operative Food, said: “The Co-operative is leading the way in providing customers with recyclable packaging.  We know our customers are keen to protect the environment and, in addition, we are also working to label all our recyclable product lines to make it as easy as possible for our customers to recycle.”

Marcus Gover, Director of Closed Loop Economy at WRAP, said: “WRAP welcomes every initiative from retailers and brand owners to encourage people to recycle more plastic films. So we are pleased to see The Co-operative taking this step to boost the recyclability of its onion packaging, and making it easier for consumers to recycle it by using the On-Pack Recycling Label.”

Additional Information:


Know Your Onions - Top 10 Onion Facts

  • The word “onion” is derived from the Latin word, “unio”, meaning one.
  • In Ancient Egypt, onions were considered to be an object of worship. They saw eternal life in the anatomy of the onion because of its circle-within-a-circle structure, and often buried them along with their Pharaohs.
  • Onions are high in vitamin C, a good source of fibre, and are sodium, fat, and cholesterol free.
  • An old wife’s tale says the thickness of an onion can forecast winter weather.   An onion with a thin skin predicts a mild winter and a thick skin predicts a severe winter.
  • Chopping an onion makes you cry because they contain sulphur, and this is released into the air when it’s cut and reacts with the moisture in your eyes.
  • In Ancient Greece, athletes drank onion juice and rubbed onions onto their bodies before competing in the Olympics.
  • Onions are low in calories, approx 40 kcals per 100g.
  • Rubbing salt and vinegar into your hands after chopping gets rid of the smell.
  • Onions are said to be an aphrodisiac.
  • Onions were prescribed in the Middle Ages across Europe to alleviate headaches, snakebites, and hair loss.

Contact Information: 

Adele Mandy
Assistant PR Manager – National, Food
The Co-operative Group
Tel: 07713 314 894
Email: adele.mandy@co-operative.coop