Tesco removes plastic carrier bags from online business

Tesco will stop using carrier bags to deliver groceries from its online business as part of its work to use less plastic. The move will mean that 250 million fewer carrier bags will be delivered to customers’ homes each year and nearly 2,000 tonnes of plastic will come out of production annually.

Delivery drivers will be ready to offer customers a helping hand with the changes by taking groceries out of the reusable trays and into customers’ kitchens. 

The decision to roll out carrier bag-free deliveries follows 28 weeks of successful trials involving 33 stores.

Tesco Quality Director, Sarah Bradbury said: 

“We’re looking for ways to reduce the amount of plastic we use. We know it’s an important issue for customers, colleagues and our business and we know we have to do more. Removing carrier bags from our online shopping is one of the many ways we are making changes to help customers reduce their use of plastic. Right now, we’re reviewing all our packaging, including plastic, looking to remove where possible. Where it’s not right to remove we will reduce, help customers reuse and ensure all packaging can be recycled. Our scale means a simple, straightforward change can have such a big impact.”

 Paula Chin, Sustainable Materials Specialist at WWF UK, said:

 “Plastic pollution is the most visible example of the environmental crisis we are currently facing and we fully support Tesco’s move to reduce the amount of single use plastic going out to its customers. With 90% of the world’s sea birds having been found with fragments of plastic in their stomachs, we all need to do our bit to fight plastic pollution, by embracing reusable items and reducing the plastic that we use. However, its also vital that businesses and government play that part too, which is why it’s great to see Tesco supporting customers to recycle more effectively through closed loop collection systems such as the in-store soft film collection trials.”

By the end of the year, Tesco will have removed the hardest to recycle materials from its own brand packaging. As a result, 570 more products now have widely recyclable packaging, and around 3,000 tonnes of ‘bad’, hard-to-recycle, plastics have been removed in the process.

Tesco’s efforts to reduce plastic are part of its ambition for a closed loop system for packaging which uses as little plastic as possible and where packaging is used, re-used, collected and recycled continuously, so no packaging goes to landfill. 

Notes to editors

  • Following Government guidelines, Tesco will continue to provide small red bags to separate raw meat and fish (plus cleaning products in England) after August 19 – customers can ensure these bags are recycled by handing them back to their delivery driver.
  • Some loose fruit and veg will be delivered in small plastic grab bags – again, customers can ensure these bags are recycled by handing them back to their delivery driver.

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