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Tesco vows to remove a billion pieces of plastic; tells suppliers to follow its lead

| International retailers

Tesco is stepping up its fight against plastic waste by promising to remove one billion pieces of plastic from its own label products on sale in UK by the end of 2020. It is also urging branded suppliers to take similar action or face being delisted.

The move is part of the retailer’s 4 R’s strategy – Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – which aims to remove non-recyclable and excess packaging from its business.

 

To eliminate one billion pieces of plastic from its own label range, Tesco will be removing small plastic bags, commonly used to pack loose produce and bakery items, and replacing them with paper ones. Plastic trays used for ready meals and secondary lids on products such as cream, yoghurts and cereals will be scrapped. It is also ditching sporks and straws from snack pots and drinks cartons, and plans to remove 200m pieces of plastic used to pack its clothing and greetings cards.

Where excess or non-recyclable packaging cannot be removed, for example where it prevents food waste, the retailer has pledged to reduce it to an absolute minimum.

Meanwhile, Tesco revealed that it had met with 1,500 suppliers in August to let them know that packaging will form a key part of its decision-making process when determining which products are sold in its stores. The retailer said it was working with its suppliers, making clear that it reserves the right to no longer stock products that use excessive or hard to recycle materials.

Tesco’s CEO Dave Lewis commented: “Our work to Remove, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle is already transforming our packaging. Over the next twelve months, we will remove one 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.”

Back in September, Sainsbury’s vowed to halve the amount of plastic used in its stores by 2025, whilst Asda announced this week that it was bringing forward its target to reach 30% recycled content in its own label plastic packaging to the end of 2020 – five years ahead of its original deadline.

 

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