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Tesco to remove non-recyclable plastic packaging

Tesco in Poland announced today its ambitions for reducing packaging impact on environment. The retailer aims at making its brand packaging 100% recyclable by 2025. The company will also decrease the amount of packaging waste in its operations.

Tesco wants to lead the debate on sustainable packaging, encouraging retail, food and packaging industry to contribute to building so-called “closed loop”.

The work on packaging will focus on three main areas:

  • Removing all hard to recycle materials in Tesco brand packaging by the end of 2020.
  • Making Tesco brand packaging 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025.
  • Building coalitions with other retailers, suppliers, packaging industry and the waste industry to maximise the recovery, recycling and reuse of plastic packaging materials.

Tesco’s ambitions in Central Europe were confirmed by Matt Simister, CE CEO, at the Retail Summit in Prague. Speaking at the event, Matt Simister said:

At Tesco we strive to make good quality, healthy and sustainable food affordable and accessible to all.

We are really proud of the work that we have done in Central Europe to tackle food waste, reducing our total food waste by 30% in 2017/18. In total we donated 10,639 tons of food to food bank partners and local charities.

Now we are extending our ambitions to include packaging waste.

We will work with our suppliers to redesign and reduce all packaging materials that are hard to recycle from our business by 2020.

This will be a positive step on the way to making our own brand packaging 100% recyclable or reusable by 2025. Additionally, our ultimate goal is sent zero waste to landfill from our operations.

We will work with other interested organisations to increase the amount of plastic waste that is collected for recycling. Ideally we would like to move to a closed loop system.”

Tesco also wants to help customers reduce their reliance on single-use plastics. Fully complying to the EU regulatory changes, the company aims at offering customers sustainable alternatives and replacing disposable plastics.

"Only 9% of packaging waste is recycled. 12% is burned, and the rest - 79% - accumulates on landfills or goes to the natural environment. It is estimated that half of the plastic produced is designed to serve us only once. Then these products are thrown away. It is necessary to develop a new system of packaging and packaging waste management, and more broadly implement the new requirements set out in the Circular Economy Package into Polish legislation. It is good that good practices have already been applied among Polish entrepreneurs, which are following the concept of a circular economy. The Tesco initiative is also part of the Road Map showing the model of the approach to the introduction of a circular economy "- says Dominik Gajewski, legal counsel, expert of the Polish Confederation Lewiatan.

Notes to editors

  • Earlier this year Tesco briefed its suppliers on plans to work together to remove hard to recycle materials from own brand packaging. This include packaging or components of packaging made from PVC, PS, PC, where available alternatives already exist.
  • In October 2018 Tesco published its original packaging targets in its Little Helps Plan. Sustainable packaging commitment for Central Europe reflect Tesco Group commitments and targets, as well as local conditions, including types of packaging used, recycling infrastructure in countries or packaging industry development in the region.
  • Introducing new packaging initiatives requires analysing other aspects of sustainability, as impact on food waste or CO2 emissions. Packaging can play an important role in protecting products and reducing food waste.
  • “Closed loop” refers to packaging management system, in which all materials are reused or returned and then recycled or repurposed, with no packaging going to waste. Creating closed loop requires cooperation of government, products’ and packaging producers, and retail industry. It is an approach to packaging that follows the ideas of circular economy.