Helping the environment in the bag for retailer

PUBLISHED: 10:29 06 February 2008 | UPDATED: 21:20 26 October 2009

MEP Richard Howitt with staff member Ken Craythorne

MEP Richard Howitt with staff member Ken Craythorne

AN online grocery company has become the first UK retailer to make and recycle every carrier bag it uses. Ocado, which is based in Hatfield, started the pioneering scheme last week, as a push for tough new environment standards gain momentum in Europe. Th

AN online grocery company has become the first UK retailer to make and recycle every carrier bag it uses.

Ocado, which is based in Hatfield, started the pioneering scheme last week, as a push for tough new environment standards gain momentum in Europe.

The online retailer of the year 2007, which serves 13.5m households, will collect the bags from the customers and take them to a nearby recycling plant.

At this site the containers will be transformed into new carrier bags that are used within two weeks of collection.

Hertfordshire MEP Richard Howitt launched the new initiative on Friday, January 25.

He said: "By recycling all of their carrier bags on site, they set a good example to other businesses.

"It is hard to miss the risk our planet faces if we don't take better care of it.

"It is only practical measures like these that will help us knock out 20 per cent or even 30 per cent of greenhouse gases by 2020."

Ocado co-founder Jonathon Faiman added the project, which costs around two thirds less and means the grocers import far fewer bags from China, was "driven by the customers".

"They didn't like having too many carrier bags.

"Bag-free deliveries were ruled out because we were concerned about issues around waste.

"So collection was the best option but we couldn't then just export the collected bags and create a problem in another part of the world.

"Our big goal now is to encourage more customers to hand their bags over.

"While we know that there are customers who want to retain bags for re-use, we hope to collect around one-third of all bags in the short term."

# Ocado was launched in partnership with Waitrose in January 2002.

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