New Tesco recycling network to create packs from returned soft packaging

(Image: Malgosia Janicka, Shutterstock)

TESCO has announced it is to launch a UK-wide network of recycling points for soft packaging.

The collection points will be found in Tesco stores and will enable customers to return all their previously unrecycled soft plastic, regardless of where they bought it, including items such as cling film, pet food pouches and crisp packets.

Once collected, Tesco said it will send the old soft plastic for recycling where it will be washed, sorted and processed before being turned into new packaging for items such as food, household and beauty products.

The roll out follows what the supermarket giant said was an ‘extremely’ successful 10-store trial where customers responded positively – returning ten times the expected amount of plastic, with the material already being used to produce food-grade packaging for a selection of Tesco cheeses.

The most common items to be returned during the trial were:

  • Bread bags
  • Fruit and vegetable packaging
  • Crisp packets
  • Salad bags
  • Baby and pet food pouches

Tesco’s Director of Quality, Sarah Bradbury, said, “It is an absolute priority to remove and reduce as much plastic as possible and ensure everything we use is recycled and kept out of the environment. Where plastic serves an important purpose such as reducing food waste, these new recycling points make sure that every piece can be easily recycled. Trials have shown they are popular with customers, so we believe rolling them out at scale will have a real impact.”

Paula Chin, WWF sustainable materials specialist, added, “Plastic pollution is one of the most visible symptoms of the environmental crisis and is devastating our natural world. Businesses, governments and households have all got an important part to play in tackling the issue, so it’s encouraging to see Tesco extending their successful soft plastics collection trial across more of their stores, giving their customers even more opportunity to recycle these valuable materials.”