PLC | Sustainability

Packaging and plastic

Packaging does an important job. It protects products and reduces food waste. But it should never find its way into the environment. That's why we follow the '4Rs' – Remove where we can, Reduce it where we can’t, Reuse more of it, and Recycle what’s left.

Packaging is at the top of customers' priorities for a reason

“Removing unnecessary plastic is an important way that Tesco can reduce its environmental impact. We're proud of what we have done so far but we know we have more to do.”

Sarah Bradbury, Tesco Quality Director

Our packaging strategy, in order of priority









The 4Rs in action



We have now removed over 1.6 billion pieces of plastic from our UK business, including:

  • 200+ million bags from deliveries
  • 100+ million extra lids from products such as wipes, creams, yoghurts and desserts
  • 75+ million tinned multipacks no longer plastic-wrapped
  • 50 million pieces of plastic wrapping from cans of branded beers and ciders
  • 50+ million pieces of plastic from greeting cards


Where we can’t remove packaging, we try to reduce it to an absolute minimum. So far, we've reduced the size and weight of the packaging we use in a year by more than 3,000 tonnes, cutting:

  • 410 tonnes of packaging from fruit juices
  • 400+ tonnes of packaging from pre-packed fruit and vegetables
  • 116 tonnes from multipacks of crisps
  • 95 tonnes from cheese packaging
  • 58 tonnes from our large washing powder packs
  • 39 tonnes from the packaging of sweets


By 2025, we will have removed plastic from 5 billion products and reuse will help us achieve this ambition. Between July 2020 and July 2022 we partnered with Loop to run the UK’s largest ever reusable supermarket packaging trial. We are now using insights from the trial and working alongside stakeholders across the value chain to understand how we best help scale reuse in future.


Our goal is for the packaging we use to be fully recyclable and contain recycled content wherever possible.

  • We redesign packing so it's more recyclable. Like using the same plastic for fruit juice labels and bottles so they can be recycled together.
  • Customers can use soft plastic collection points in our stores to recycle their soft plastic items (for example, food wrapping), which keeps food fresh but can be hard to recycle.
  • Since we launched the 4Rs , we have doubled the recycled content in our own-label plastic packaging.


“We are determined to tackle plastic waste and one of the ways we can help is by improving reuse options available to customers. Bringing Loop to our stores is a significant milestone in this journey. With 88 everyday products available, we’re giving customers a wide range of options and we’ll learn as much as we can from this to inform our future packaging plans.”

Ken Murphy, Tesco Group CEO