Waste and recycling in the UK

Last updated:14/06/2017

Our approach

As a food business, our long-term success depends on the health of the natural environment. We are 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. Through this agreement, we are committed to helping cut the waste and greenhouse gas emissions associated with food and drink by at least one-fifth per person by 2025.

As part of this commitment, we are working to reduce the waste from our own operations and maximise reuse and recycling.

The waste hierarchy below forms the basis of many of our waste management approaches. We are always looking for ways to minimise our waste going to incineration and move to reducing and reusing where possible.

Since 2009 no waste from Tesco has gone direct to landfill.

UK operations

To help to manage our waste, we encourage segregation of waste in our UK operations. We engage colleagues through an accessible Waste & Recycling Operating Manual as well as through training materials. We are currently reviewing these materials to include product end-of-life procedures which will improve segregation.

We recycle both waste cardboard and plastic. A good example of our waste management in practice is with our waste plastic. Plastic from our stores or 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 single use carrier bags and bags for life. Overall 80% of the content of our plastic carrier bags is made with our own waste material.

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

By actively managing our waste, Tesco minimises its environmental impact. We have implemented policies and processes (guided by the Waste Hierarchy) and endeavour to ensure any materials capable of being recycled are. The final resort is to send material for incineration. we continue to look for further opportunities to improve our environmental impact.

We have also made the commitment that no food that’s safe for human consumption will go to waste from our UK retail operations by the end of 2017. To find out how we are reaching this commitment and how we are working from farm to fork to reduce food waste, click here.

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 selected ink cartridges all in one convenient location. Look out for these stations behind the tills in stores all over 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, Shoe and Book recycling at over 600 sites.

Recycling your printer cartridges

At Tesco, when you send us your old printer cartridges, we’ll give you up to 125 green Clubcard points for each qualifying cartridge you recycle, or you can choose to donate up to £1 to our Charity Partners.

Simply send us your empty inkjet cartridges in a freepost envelope, which you can get online at www.therecyclingfactory.com/tesco.

Recycling your batteries

Tesco is part of a compliance scheme and offers battery-recycling points at Express, Metro, Superstore, and Extra stores. In 2016, 467 tons of batteries were collected in Tesco stores.

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

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