All of the leading supermarket chains will begin collecting thin plastic packaging for recycling, the British Retail Consortium (BRC) announced today.
A deal has been struck between the UK’s leading retailers and the On Pack Recycling Label (OPRL) scheme, meaning that customers will now be able to easily recycle the plastic used for bread bags, cereal liners and to connect cans in a multi-pack.
This type of plastic represents 645,000 tonnes or 43 per cent of all plastic household waste in the UK each year, whereas plastic bottles account for only 32 per cent in comparison.
Bob Gordon, Head of Environment at the BRC and Director of OPRL, said: “This announcement shows retailers are prepared to go above and beyond what is expected of them to support customers’ environmental efforts.
“We know many consumers want to do their bit for the planet and this move will be a big help. Retailers are leading the way in helping customers minimise waste through measures such as reducing the weight of packaging and providing consistent on-pack information.
“The retail sector has helped to prevent 1.2 million tonnes of food and packaging waste since 2005.”
Thin plastic film is fully recyclable but until now there had not been an easy way for consumers to recycling it.
Any plastic waste products featuring the OPRL symbol can now be handed in to any Asda, Co-operative, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Tesco or Waitrose store to be processed by the retailer.
Gordon added: “People visit shops to buy food and new goods. For reasons of hygiene and space, retail premises are not suitable for handling large quantities of waste, but stores already have facilities to recycle carrier bags.
“They can double the effectiveness of these units by taking plastic films as well. We’re pleased to see certain local councils matching this commitment where other waste is concerned.”
Another major UK retailer heavily investing in recycling initiatives is Mark & Spencer, which attempted to collect 500,000 unwanted clothes from its customer in just one day last month, as part of its Plan A scheme.