Tesco Berry Global bin bags

Soft plastic from fruit and vegetable packaging is being turned into bin liners thanks to a new recycling partnership between Tesco and packaging manufacturer Berry Global.

Tesco has rapidly scaled up its number of soft plastic collection points and now collects plastic from customers for recycling in over 900 stores. The retailer has collected over 850 tonnes of soft plastic to date and is working with partners on several recycling solutions.

Some 25 to 30 tonnes of soft plastic is collected each month, including bread bags and fruit, vegetable and salad packaging, before being sent to Berry’ Global’s recycling facility in Heanor, Derbyshire.

There it is washed, scrubbed and dried, during which any unwanted items are removed. The resulting material is then turned into pellets, ready for manufacturing into bin liners that Tesco sells in its stores.

Tesco’s ‘20 Extra Strong Refuse Sacks 75l’, made from 20 per cent recycled soft plastic, are available for£3 a pack.

Berry Global added that there is 'full traceability' of the collected soft plastic through the supply chain to ensure it is a circular project.

To give the bin liners the required strength and durability, the Tesco recycled plastic pellet is blended with recovered agricultural films, such as baling wrap.

Tesco’s sustainability packaging manager, William Guest, said: “Our soft plastic collection points help to plug the gap in the country’s recycling infrastructure, and when combined with initiatives like this, we meet our customers’ ask that materials do not go to waste.”

Berry Global’s external affairs director, Mike Baxter, added: “Our collaboration with Tesco demonstrates how traditionally hard to recycle plastics can now be sustainably converted and remanufactured into new products in the UK. We are delighted to be supporting this Tesco initiative which helps to keep valuable used plastic film out of the waste stream.”