SOME 2,000 tonnes of plastic per year is to be recycled into new food grade packaging under a new ‘industry first’ approach being taken by Tesco, the supermarket has revealed.
It comes as part of a partnership with Faerch, which will see the recycling firm create a closed loop solution to ensure Tesco’s secondary plastic packaging is recycled into new food contact primary packs.
Tesco said that, until recently, PET shelf ready packaging – widely used by UK supermarkets to transport products – was used once before being downcycled into non-food applications. However, the new ‘tray to tray’ initiative will see Tesco’s secondary PET be collected by Faerch to be made into new, food contact PET pots, tubs and trays.
The supermarket said that packaging for its own brand cut fruit, selected yoghurts and meat will be guaranteed to contain 30% rPET that originated in Tesco stores. It added that to achieve this, all its own brand and branded suppliers will be required to use food contact approved PET for shelf ready packaging.
William Guest, sustainable packaging manager at Tesco, said, “Wherever we can, we remove or reduce packaging but where it is needed we want to improve circularity to make our packaging as sustainable as possible. One way we can do that is by ensuring packaging that meets food contact requirements remains within the food packaging sector, being recycled back into food contact packaging.
“This collaboration with Faerch will ensure that each year 2,000 tonnes of PET is recycled to make new Tesco packaging that otherwise would have been downcycled into non-food applications.”
Mark Tollman, group strategic sales director at Faerch, added, “This is a perfect example of how collaboration between packaging manufacturers, retailers and their suppliers can deliver lasting change and material circularity. The ‘Tray 2 Tray by Faerch’ project demonstrates that PET packaging can be recovered and recycled at an industrial level and made back into food grade pots and trays.”