Tesco scraps 1 billion plastic pieces from UK business

Tesco plastic waste Sarah Bradbury
Tesco has met with 1500 suppliers to let them know that packaging will form a key part of its decision-making process
// Tesco removes 1 billion pieces of plastic from its business since 2019
// The target was part of Tesco’s commitment to tackle plastics through its 4Rs packaging strategy
// The strategy has seen a business-wide programme of change that assesses every piece of packaging

Tesco said it has removed one billion pieces of plastic from its UK business in just one year by working with its suppliers.

This includes the plastic shrink wrap around branded and own-label tinned multipacks, plastic wraps from branded and own label greetings cards, small plastic bags used to pack loose fruit and veg, and plastic from Christmas products and packaging.

The one billion target was part of Tesco’s commitment to tackle plastics through its 4Rs packaging strategy: To remove it where it can, reduce where it can’t, reuse more and recycle what’s left.


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The strategy has seen a business-wide programme of change that assesses every piece of packaging and removes all unnecessary and non-recyclable material.

“Our own-label and branded suppliers have had a lot to contend with in 2020 so removing a billion pieces of plastic is fantastic progress,” Tesco quality director Sarah Bradbury said.

“Our work to Remove, Reduce, Reuse and Recycle will continue into 2021 – there is no place for unnecessary or non-recyclable packaging in our business.”

In July, Tesco launched an online shopping service with Loop that delivers groceries in reusable packaging throughout the country.

Tesco has also met with 1500 suppliers to let them know that packaging will form a key part of its decision-making process which determines what products are sold in stores.

The retailer made it clear that it reserves the right to no longer stock products that use excessive packaging or hard to recycle materials.

Earlier this week, Tesco chair John Allan said any impact on food prices due to Brexit will be “very modest”, following the recent news of a deal between the UK and EU.

Allan said the deal was a “good outcome” for retailers with any changes likely to not affect its shoppers.

The chairman had warned that a no-deal Brexit could increase food prices by around three per cent and five per cent, but has now said the “tariff-free trade deal” would make food price increases negligible.

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