Tesco to remove one billion pieces of plastic from products by the end of 2020
1 November 2019
Tesco has today announced it will remove one billion pieces of plastic from products for sale in UK stores by the end of 2020 as a part of its 4Rs plan to tackle the use of plastics in its business.
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.
To remove one billion pieces from Tesco 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, yoghurts 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 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:
“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.”
WWF UK’s Sustainable Materials Specialist, Paula Chin said:
“Plastic pollution is the most visible symptom of the environmental crisis we’re currently facing. Businesses, governments and households have all got an important part to play, so it’s good to see Tesco’s commitment to significantly reduce the amount of plastic we use.”
Notes to editors
- Last year, Tesco completed the most comprehensive review of packaging held in its business.
- Since announcing its ambition in 2018 to remove hard-to-recycle materials, Tesco will have eliminated the hardest to recycle materials from own brand products by the end of 2019, by removing over 4,000 tonnes of materials from 800 lines. The company is also working with branded suppliers on this.
- In January 2018, Tesco called on the government to introduce a UK national infrastructure for recycling and offered to help, including giving space in our car parks for recycling and testing the collection of materials not currently recycled by local councils. That invitation stands and the need for action has never been more pressing.