25th May 2018

Tesco calls for recycling infrastructure reform

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Tesco has requested that the government reforms its approach to recycling in the UK as the supermarket chain works towards a closed loop system.

The company spoke to hundreds of suppliers at an Institute of Grocery Distribution (IGD) event this week, where it pledged to:

• Remove, reduce and redesign packaging materials and their use
• Improve recovery and recycling, ideally working with government on a national recycling infrastructure
• Work to raise awareness and educate in order to change customer behaviour

For this closed loop to become a reality across its UK operations, Tesco urged the government to establish a consistent recycling infrastructure across the UK and avoid extreme variations in current levels of actual recycling.

Tesco, which supports the national Deposit and Return Scheme as part of a holistic approach to reducing waste and increasing recycling and closing the loop, will also work to develop simple packaging recycling communication and the amount of recycled materials it buys to help environmentally aware consumers.

Jason Tarry, chief product officer said: “We are committed to reducing the total amount of packaging used across our business. Ideally we would like to move to a closed loop system.

“We will work with our suppliers to redesign and reduce all packaging materials and after consultation with our leading suppliers earlier this year we will remove all packaging that is hard to recycle from our business by 2019.

“To complete the journey to a closed loop approach, we stand ready to work with government to reform the current approach to recycling in the UK.”
Tesco has informed suppliers that it will remove hard to recycle certain materials which will include Polystyrene, PVC, Oxy degradable materials, PLA (Polylactic acid), water soluble bio plastics and industrial compostable.

It is also consulting on other materials to develop a closed loop solution (or remove from the business) including oriented polypropylene, black plastic, Polypropylene (for certain food applications) and complex laminates.

However, it will support materials such as sustainably sourced wood, board, paper, PET (Polyethylene terephthalate), glass, polypropylene (non-food), steel and aluminium.

In October 2017 Tesco published its original packaging targets in its Little Helps Plan. These are:

• All packaging in Tesco will be fully recyclable or compostable
• All paper and board will be 100 per cent sustainable
• Packaging weight will be halved (against a 2007 baseline)