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Tesco engages suppliers to accelerate plans to tackle plastic waste

Tesco is today (26 April) bringing together suppliers at a sustainability event to discuss new ways to eliminate even more plastic waste where it matters most.

As a part of Tesco’s 4Rs packaging strategy – Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – suppliers will be asked to accelerate progress and to go further and faster in removing plastic where alternatives are possible. The retailer will apply a particular focus to areas that can make the greatest difference at scale, as well as tackling packaging which is most at risk of ending up in the natural environment.

To address the challenge, Tesco is seeking alternate solutions such as an increase in loose or unpackaged products, greater use of concentrates and reusable and refillable packaging.

As a part of the event, Tesco will set out a new aim to work with suppliers in order to remove plastic from 5 billion own brand and branded products sold each year, by 2025.

Further detail on Tesco's packaging strategy will be published later this summer.

Tesco’s Group Quality Director, Sarah Bradbury said:

“We’ve already made progress to minimise the environmental impact of our packaging, but we know there is more we can do with suppliers on the issue of plastic waste.

“We’re bringing suppliers together to work solutions because we are determined to go further and accelerate our progress, with a focus on the areas of greatest impact.

“We’re really grateful for the support and partnership of our suppliers on this important agenda, and we look forward to sharing more detail on our packaging strategy in the months ahead.”

The move forms a part of Tesco’s 4Rs packaging strategy: to remove where it can, reduce where it can't, reuse more and recycle what's left.

Since the 4Rs strategy was established in 2019, Tesco has improved the packaging for more than 1,500 different products and removed 1.6 billion pieces of unnecessary plastic, including multipacks, additional lids, films, and bags.

Tesco makes holistic decisions on the materials that suppliers can use in its packaging through an industry leading Red/Amber/Green list of Preferred Materials and Formats.

The ‘Green’ list stipulates 9 easy-to-recycle materials that can be used in its packaging. Tesco has previously insisted suppliers stop using ‘Red’ materials as customers cannot easily recycle them in the UK.

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