Tesco Announces Strategy to Ban Plastic Packaging

British supermarket chain Tesco is set to remove one billion pieces of plastic from products, including bakery items, by the end of 2020 as it seeks to reduce its environmental impact.

The supermarket will end its use of small plastic bags, commonly used to pack loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items, and replace them with paper ones.

Tesco’s 4Rs strategy – Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – means it will remove non-recyclable and excess packaging from its business. Where it can’t be removed, for example where it prevents food waste, Tesco will work with its suppliers to reduce it to an absolute minimum. The retailer will explore new opportunities to reuse its packaging and ensure that anything left is all recycled as part of a closed-loop. “If packaging can’t be recycled, it will have no place at Tesco,” the company announces.

To remove one billion pieces from Tesco’s own-brand products by the end of 2020, Tesco will be removing:

  • small plastic bags commonly used to pack loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items and replacing them with paper ones
  • plastic trays from ready meals
  • secondary lids on products such as cream, yogurts and cereals
  • sporks and straws from snack pots and drinks cartons
  • 200m pieces of plastic used to pack clothing and greetings cards

In August, Tesco met with 1500 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 it clear that it reserves the right to no longer stock products that use excessive or hard to recycle materials.

Tesco has already stopped offering carrier bags with online deliveries – a decision which will stop 250 million bags being produced every year.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said: “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.”

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