Tesco is trialling new technology that can recycle all plastic packaging with an in-store deposit scheme.
After Tesco CEO Dave Lewis announced plans to create a closed loop of packaging at last year’s City Food Lecture, customers will now be able to return shopping bags and crisp packets, which cannot commonly be recycled by local councils, at a selection of stores.
Tesco has teamed up with recycling tech company Recycling Technologies to develop the scheme, with the company’s chief executive Adrian Griffiths saying it planned to double the UK’s capacity to recycle plastic waste by 2027.
Tesco’s director of quality, Sarah Bradbury said: “Reducing and recycling plastics is such an important issue for us, for customers and for the future of our planet. That’s why we are working hard to reduce the amount of packaging in our stores and have committed that all remaining packaging will be recyclable by 2025.
“Our trial with Recycling Technologies will make even more of our packaging recyclable and help us reach our target. This technology could be the final piece of the jigsaw for the UK plastic recycling industry.”
Tesco estimates that if this recycling scheme is rolled out across the country it will be possible to recycle around 90 per cent of its own label packaging, the equivalent of 65,000 tonnes.
WWF UK’s sustainable materials specialist, Paula Chin said: “It’s great to see Tesco running this innovative trial, looking for new ways to make it easier for customers to recycle plastic materials which would usually go in their waste bins.
“From our local beaches to the remote Arctic, plastic is choking our oceans and killing wildlife. Eight million tonnes are dumped into our seas every year – killing turtles, fish, whales and birds. While we can all do our bit by reducing the plastic we buy and embracing reusable items, we need producers, businesses and governments to face their responsibilities too.”