Co-op food stores coming to festivals this summer, with reverse plastic vending machines

 Co-op food stores coming to festivals this summer, with reverse plastic vending machines

Pop-up Co-op festival stores will be appearing at four events this summer, stocking over 200 different products, including beer. Download, Latitude, Reading, and Leeds will each operate a 6,000 square foot shop, much bigger than your typical high street Co-op, which promises to be restocked daily.

In a UK first, Co-op will trial ‘reverse vending machines’ at the events. All plastic bottles sold in the stores will include a deposit, which is refunded when the empty bottles are returned to the machine. You’ll then get a voucher to spend again in the store.

The bottles collected by the reverse vending machines will then go to be recycled, becoming bottles for Co-op’s own brand bottled water. The stores will bolster the countless independent traders on offer at each festival, such as this mouth-watering street food line-up recently released by Download.

Each Co-op festival shop will be located within the campsite rather than the arena, will be fully staffed, and with a high number of till points. Co-op told press the range of products will include “food, water, beer and wine, toiletries including medicines and, to cover all eventualities, both sun cream and rain ponchos!”

Co-op festival stores ticket

Melvin Benn, Managing Director of organisers Festival Republic, said: “We want festival-goers to have the best possible experience while at our events and are always looking for partnerships that enhance this. Having an environmentally-conscious food retailer like Co-op onsite will give fans easy access to all the products they need while at our festival campsites, while reinforcing our green principles. We look forward to working closely with Co-op throughout the summer.”

“We welcome over 350,000 revellers across these four iconic festival sites. It’s absolutely fantastic to think that they will be amongst the first people in the UK to have the opportunity to recycle their plastic bottles simply and easily using the reverse vending machines, in addition to the existing deposit return schemes at the festivals.”

Download Festival will this year host a 3,000 capacity eco-campsite, backed by Greenpeace. A free addition to any weekend ticket, eco-campers will have to pledge to follow four eco-principles to stay in the eco-camp, which will offer activities including morning yoga.

Taking place in less than a month, this year’s Download features headline sets from Avenged Sevenfold, Guns N’ Roses, and Ozzy Ozborne, and some last-minute tickets remain available.

Co-op Director of Marketing Communications, Amanda Jennings, also commented: “This industry-first deal puts Co-op at the heart of festival communities this summer. It shows our ambition to reach out to new and younger customers, providing essential and quality products. Co-op is all about being close to the customer and it doesn’t get much closer than being right outside your tent.”

Latitude’s line-up features Solange, The Killers, Alt-J, Wolf Alice, and Rag ‘N’ Bone Man. Taking place from 13th-15th July, day tickets for The Killers Saturday headline set have already sold out. Weekend tickets, alongside Friday and Sunday day tickets, remain available.

Jo Whitfield, Co-op Retail CEO, said: “As the UK’s leading ethical retailer there’s nowhere better for us to start our trial of reverse vending machines than at some of the UK’s most well-loved festivals.

“Reducing the amount of plastic that makes its way to landfill is really important to us and our members. I’m excited that, in partnership with Live Nation and Recycling Options, we have the opportunity to bring these machines to the UK only a few months after they were officially given the green light by the Government. We’re committed to giving our customers ways to make more ethical choices, so this is a hugely exciting milestone in our sustainability journey to achieve our future aim of making all of our food packaging 100% recyclable.”

Image credits: The Co-op, TheFestivals.UK Download 2017 gallery