Tesco is to remove one billion pieces of plastic from products for sale in UK stores by the end of 2020, saying that if packaging cannot be recycled it will no longer be a part of its supply chain.
The retailer has outlined its aims to reduce excess use of plastic wherever possible, and said that where it cannot be removed (such as its use to prevent spoilage) it would work with suppliers to reduce its use to an absolute minimum.
Tesco will also explore new routes to circumvent the use of plastics, and find ways to reuse any packaging, as part of a closed-loop operation, and if packaging cannot be recycled, it will not be a part of the Tesco supply chain.
In August, Tesco met with 1,500 suppliers to let them know that packaging will form a key part of its decision-making process which determines which products are sold in its stores.
The retailer has worked with its suppliers, making clear that it reserves the right to no longer stock products that use excessive or hard to recycle materials.
As part of its initiative to remove plastic, Tesco will remove plastic trays, and is exploring a recyclable board instead. Plastic straws from drinks will be replaced by paper alternatives.
Small plastic bags used for packing fruits and vegetables, plastic that wraps clothing and cards, and various lids will be removed.
Dave Lewis, CEO of Tesco 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.”
Tesco held a 27 per cent share of the UK grocery market for the 12 weeks ending 6 October 2019, according to Kantar Worldpanel.
By Michelle Mooney