Our approach to managing waste from our UK operations

Our approach to managing waste from our UK operations

Last updated: 08/07/2021

Our approach

As a food business, our long-term success depends on the health of the natural environment. We aim to minimise our environmental impact and are proud signatories of Courtauld 2025, a voluntary agreement that brings together organisations across the food system to make food and drink production and consumption more sustainable.

We have no time for waste, and are guided by the waste hierarchy - working to reduce the amount of waste generated from our own operations while also maximising reuse and recycling. We aim to minimise the amount of waste going to incineration and no waste from Tesco has been sent direct to landfill since 2009.

To help us manage our waste most effectively and to help ensure materials that can be recycled are, we encourage segregation of waste in our UK operations. Our colleagues are trained on waste management procedures, including product end-of-life procedures to improve segregation.

We recycle both waste cardboard and plastic. Plastic from our stores and distribution centres is sorted and bailed by type before being sent for final processing. The vast majority of the shrink wrap we use in distribution ultimately becomes our bags for life - 80% of the content of our plastic bags for life is made with our own waste material.

General waste is sent for energy recovery through incineration or Refuse Derived Fuel (RDF). Additionally, any waste fats and oils are sent to be made into biofuels.

Total waste figures for Tesco UK operations

UK

2015/16

2016/17

2017/18

2018/19

2019/20

2020/21

 

Total waste generated (tonnes)

468,841

458,982

461,216

451,141

441,222

436,985

 

Total waste reused, recycled or sent for energy recovery (tonnes)

468,841

458,982

461,216

451,141

441,222

436,985

 

Total waste disposed of (landfill or incineration without energy recovery)

0

0

0

0

0

0

 

Beyond our own operations, we’re also working with our suppliers and helping our customers to reduce waste - both food waste and packaging waste. Please read our food waste and packaging pages for more information.

Recycling in our UK stores

As well as taking actions in our own operation, we also want to help make it as easy for customers to recycle and waste less.

To help our customers recycle, we have recycle stations in many of our stores. Along with batteries you can also recycle water filter cartridges, energy saving light bulbs and non-commercial ink cartridges all in one convenient location. Look out for these stations behind the tills in selected stores around the UK.

Car park recycling facilities

Tesco run recycling sites at selected stores, providing a mix of recycling offers including Glass, Cardboard, Mixed Cans and Plastic Bottles. On additional sites, Tesco works in partnership with local councils to offer recycling opportunities to our customers. Tesco also work in partnership with carefully selected Charity Partners to offer Textile and Shoe recycling at over 600 sites.

Recycling your batteries

Tesco is part of a compliance scheme and offers battery-recycling points at Express, Metro, Superstore, and Extra stores. In 2020, 566.57 tons of batteries were collected in Tesco stores.

You can recycle all household batteries at our recycling points, including AAA, AA, C , D, 9 volt, button and those from appliances such as mobile phones, laptops, hearing aids, watches, cameras, cordless power tools, electric toothbrushes, razors, toys, burglar alarms, and hand-held vacuum cleaners.

Lead acid batteries from cars are not suitable for instore recycling points.

Recycling electrical equipment

You can take old electrical equipment (anything from TVs and DVD players to power tools and electrical toys) back to participating civic amenity (waste) sites run by your local council. 

Tesco has joined together with other leading UK electrical retailers to provide funding to help local councils to provide these facilities. You can find your nearest one by entering your postcode at Recycle More website or by calling the Tesco customer services helpline on 0800 505 555.

We are also members of the ‘Distributor Take Back’ scheme, financially contributing toward the provision of the electrical (WEEE) collection facilities by Local Authorities at recycling centres.

For more information contact our corporate responsibility team - cr.enquiries@uk.tesco.com