British consumer co-operative Co-op has removed all plastic from its Christmas gift wrap and introduced a plastic-free wrapping paper range.

The initiative is in keeping with the company’s sustainability commitment, under which it aims to avoid the unnecessary use of plastic in its packaging and products.

The retailer has removed the plastic film from around the rolls of Christmas wrap, claiming to have saved almost a million pieces of plastic in the process.

Its full gifting range includes fully recyclable crackers, cards and accessories.

In addition, Co-op has changed all its ribbons to a cellulose-based, plastic-free material, while its bag handles and cracker contents have been replaced with paper or more sustainable alternatives.

Data from UK-based packaging company GWP Group has shown that UK consumers use 227,000 miles of wrapping paper a year, of which more than 1,032 miles ends up in waste bins.

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Co-op’s fully recyclable Christmas wrapping paper is intended to address this issue.

Co-op product developer Simon Robinson said: “Last year, we made great strides to reduce our use of plastic in our Christmas range, and this year, we have gone above and beyond, with plans to launch the most sustainable gifting range next year.

“We’re looking forward to a Christmas that will hopefully be a little more normal and the gift of giving will be back in full swing.”

As well as its new wrapping paper range, Co-op has launched a more sustainable packaging for its Irresistible Chocolate Box premium range.

The retailer has replaced all plastic packaging from the products with cardboard trays. The boxes will be available in the updated packaging from next April.

Last week, Co-op partnered with UK-based consumer goods company Unilever to pilot two refillable packaging concepts in a store environment.

The Refill On the Go and Return On the Go models are intended to offer shoppers more efficient alternatives to plastic.