The Co-op has brought a recycling scheme to its rivals’ doorsteps through a marketing campaign it claims is “in the spirit of co-operation”.
The retailer has installed “hyper-targeted” billboards outside Tesco and Sainsbury’s branches, telling shoppers that it accepts soft plastics like crisp packets and sandwich bags.
“The ads have been targeted to be in sites as close as one metre from another supermarket to drive home this point,” the Co-op said.
However, both Big 4 grocers have installed flexible plastic collection points at hundreds of branches.
The Co-op plans to unveil 2300 soft plastic recycling stations by September.
Its billboards, created by advertising agency Lucky Generals, will be in place until the end of the summer.
“In the spirit of co-operation, we put our ads outside competitors’ stores to show that even if you shop somewhere else, you can now recycle your soft plastics at Co-op,” Lucky Generals creative director Danny Hunt said.
The employee-owned retailer is also running a #CleanitScrunchitCoopit challenge, encouraging TikTok users to recycle.
Having signed up to environmental charity WRAP’s “Plastics Pact”, all Big 4 grocers are obliged to provide soft plastic recycling points outside their stores by the end of the year.
Supermarkets are seen as crucial for recycling materials like salad bags and biscuit wrappers because they are collected by under a fifth of local authorities.
As of two months ago, Sainsbury’s had installed 520 flexible plastic collection points in a “mass rollout”.
Tesco launched the recycling stations at 171 branches in March.
Of the 300,000 tonnes of soft plastics produced by the UK in 2019, just six per cent was recycled.