Tesco has announced it will remove one billion pieces of plastic from own-brand products for sale in UK stores by the end of 2020.
According to the retailer, it plans to implement a 4 R’s strategy – Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. These terms mean it will remove non-recyclable and excess packaging from its business. Where it can’t be removed, for example where it prevents food waste, Tesco said it will work with its suppliers to reduce it to an absolute minimum. Tesco promised to explore new opportunities to reuse its packaging. It also promised to ensure that anything left is all recycled as part of a closed loop.
The UK’s largest supermarket said it will be removing:
- small plastic bags, commonly used to pack loose fruit, vegetables, and bakery items, and replacing them with paper ones
- plastic trays from ready meals
- secondary lids on products such as cream, yoghurts, and cereals
- sporks and straws from snack pots and drinks cartons
- 200m pieces of plastic used to pack clothing and greetings cards
In August, Tesco told 1,500 suppliers that packaging will form a key part of its decision-making process. These products are sold in its stores. It now vows to drop products that use excessive or hard to recycle materials.
Tesco has already stopped offering carrier bags with online deliveries. This is a decision that will stop 250 million bags being produced every year.
Dave Lewis, Tesco chief executive , said: “By focusing on solutions that we can apply across all our UK stores and supply chain, we can make a significant difference and achieve real scale in our efforts to tackle plastic.”
WWF UK’s sustainable materials specialist, Paula Chin lauded the idea. “It’s good to see Tesco’s commitment to significantly reduce the amount of plastic we use, he said”