M&S’s new take-back scheme recycles plastic into playground equipment

M&S plastic
// M&S to turn non-recyclable plastic into playground equipment
// Aimed at preventing landfill waste
// Part of wider plan to ensure all of its packaging is widely recyclable by 2022

Marks & Spencer has launched a new initiative where customers can bring back non-recyclable plastic packaging that is then recycled into playground equipment.

The new take-back scheme, part of the bellwether retailer’s war on plastic, is aimed at preventing non-recyclable plastic waste from going to landfill.

Customers can drop a variety of plastic packaging in M&S’s new recycling bins, including black ready-meal trays, crisp packets, sauce sachets and certain cosmetics containers, all of which are not currently recycled by local councils and typically end up in landfill.

The retailer pledged to give the collected plastic a new life by recycling it into store fittings, furniture and playground equipment for schools.

The scheme has initially launched in M&S food and beauty halls in Tolworth, Cribbs Causeway, Westfield Stratford, Waterside, Loughton, Bluewater, Fosse Park and Peterborough.

The retailer will roll-out the bins to all of its stores by the end of 2019.

The bins themselves will be made from recycled plastic collected through the first eight stores.

M&S will also introduce recycling collection points to primary schools across in collaboration with waste education social enterprise Wastebuster, where pupils will be taught about the importance of recycling and reducing plastic waste.

“As a business, we’re committed to reducing the amount of plastic we use, and we have already started phasing out non-recyclable packaging from our products,” M&S senior packaging technologist Laura Fernandez said.

“As we continue to work towards our plastic reduction goals, we want to go a step further and help our customers and the next generation to have a real impact on the environment.

“Customers often don’t know how best to recycle certain types of plastic or where it goes after being collected by local councils.

“We’re on a mission to provide a greater awareness of landfill avoidance and plastic recyclability, while ultimately helping our customers to give plastic a new purpose and support a truly circular economy.”

As part of its plastic plan, M&S will ensure all of its packaging is widely recyclable by 2022, which will see the retailer remove 1700 tonnes of black plastic packaging by this spring.

Ealier this month, it launched 90 lines of loose fruit and vegetables that are retailed in compostable punnets and are completely free of plastic packaging and confirmed that additional lines of loose produce and more sustainable alternatives to plastic will soon be available every UK store.

M&S said it has already phased out 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery given out in its stores each year and replaced two million straws with paper alternatives as part of its plastics plan, which aims to remove 1000 tonnes of plastic packaging by spring this year.

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