Tesco plans to remove 1 billion pieces of plastic from products for sale in UK stores by the end of 2020.
As part of its 4Rs strategy – Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – non-recyclable and excess packaging will be removed from Tesco stores. Where it can’t be discarded, for example where it prevents food waste, the retailer will work with its suppliers to reduce it to an absolute minimum.
The company will explore new opportunities to reuse its packaging and ensure that anything left is all recycled as part of a closed loop.
To remove 1 billion pieces from Tesco own-brand products by the end of 2020, the retailer will no longer use: small plastic bags, commonly used for fruit, vegetables and bakery items; plastic trays from ready meals; secondary lids on products such as cream, yogurts and cereals; and sporks and straws from snack pots and drinks cartons.
The retailer has told its suppliers that it reserves the right to no longer stock products that use excessive or hard-to-recycle materials.
“Our work to Remove, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle is already transforming our packaging,” said Tesco CEO Dave Lewis. “Over the next twelve months, we will remove 1 billion pieces of plastic, further reducing the environmental impact of the products we sell.
“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 added: “Plastic pollution is the most visible symptom of the environmental crisis we’re currently facing. Businesses, governments and households have all got an important part to play, so it’s good to see Tesco’s commitment to significantly reduce the amount of plastic we use.”
Tesco has already stopped offering carrier bags with online deliveries – a decision that will stop 250 million bags being produced every year.
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