Covirán ramps up plastic reduction efforts with roll-out of more sustainable alternatives

In recent years, the food distribution cooperative Covirán, made up of 2,404 independent retail partners, has made a qualitative leap forward in its fight against the use of plastic in supermarkets.
Mon 21/11/2022 by Maria Belen Barbini
The new law on waste and soil pollution increases producers’ obligations on handling packaging placed on market.
The cooperative has made great efforts to reduce the use of plastics.

Even before the new law on waste and soil pollution came into force, Covirán supermarkets had already adopted measures to dispose of single-use plastic items, focusing efforts on the use of more sustainable bags and containers for food.

Covirán supermarkets have been a benchmark for over a decade in the use of raffia bags from its “The art of buying” collection, featuring prints of different cities. In addition, customers have been offered biodegradable and reusable paper bags as well as breathable mesh bags to carry their fruit and vegetables.

In the gradual reduction and elimination of bags and other types of plastic packaging, the cooperative’s partners have played a key role, without which, Covirán states, “it would not have been possible to gradually change habits to focus on caring for and preserving the environment. We are facing a very serious problem but the work carried out in these years is beginning to bear fruit. There is greater awareness of environmental problems on the part of our partners, employees, consumers and producers,” said Covirán, which attaches great importance to the circular economy:

“a model of sustainable production and consumption that implies reducing, reusing, renewing and recycling materials.”

Last year alone, 175.5 tons of plastic underwent treatment at Covirán’s facilities, almost 5 tons more than in 2020, as testament to the retailer’s commitment to eliminating single-use plastic from its supermarkets.

In Covirán stores, priority has been given to using biodegradable and compostable materials that meet the packaging requirements demanded by the European Union. At self-service and semi-assisted points of sale, where the sale of bulk fruit predominates, packaging is reserved for convenience range foods, vegetables and processed fruits in order to keep them in good condition.

Skin-Pack Packaging

Another innovation to be found in many Covirán outlets, and which will soon be extended to many others, is recyclable skin-pack packaging for meat products, a technique that allows meat to be vacuum wrapped on a cardboard tray.

The new law on waste and soil pollution increases producers’ obligations as they must pay for the management of all containers they place on the market. As such, Covirán has been collaborating with local suppliers to dispense with plastic as much as possible and use recycled packaging.

Currently, Covirán has the second most stores in Spain and ended 2021 with 2,856 supermarkets operating under its banner (mainly in Spain and Portugal). In 2021, its sales of fresh and packaged products totalled over €672.5 million and generated 15,119 direct jobs.

Key figures

Covirán Spain (2021)

2,566 stores

2,169 partners

€1.44 billion in sales revenue

Covirán Portugal (2021)

290 stores

235 partners

+€199 million in sales revenue

15,119 total employees in Spain and Portugal

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