Tesco roll out ‘amazing’ new system to every large UK supermarket – ‘incredible work’

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Soft plastics are not commonly collected by local councils for recycling and often thrown away, adding to landfill waste. Earlier this year, Tesco launched its soft plastics recycling service where customers could bring in food wrappers like crisp packets and fruit and vegetable bags which are sent to be recycled.

After an overwhelming response from customers, Tesco has extended its trial to all of its large UK stores.

Tesco expects to collect more than 1,000 tonnes a year and will recycle as much of this material as possible.

The recycled material will be used into products and packing sold in Tesco stores.

In the trial stores, 85 percent of customers said it helped them to recycle more than they would have done otherwise.

Customers also reported that they liked the convenience of being able to combine recycling with their shopping.

Tesco’s Director of Quality, Sarah Bradbury, said: “We’re tackling the impact of plastics by removing and reducing it as much as possible, helping customers move to reusable alternatives, and ensuring they can recycle everything that’s left.

“I’m delighted that we’re rolling out collection points to the whole of the country so even more customers can help us stop plastic from going to waste.”

The collection points allow shoppers to recycle items like clear film used to wrap meat and fish, crisp packets, fruit and veg bags as well as sweet wrappers.

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Salad bags and bread bags can also be recycled.

Marcus Gover, CEO WRAP, said: “Tackling plastic bags and wrapping is the UK Plastics Pact’s number one priority, and increasing front of store collection points is a great step forward.

“As little as six percent of this problematic plastic is collected and recycled in the UK, despite making up nearly a quarter of all plastic packaging by weight.

“By offering shoppers a simple and consistent collections system Tesco is helping to ensure that much more of this problem plastic is captured and goes on to be recycled.

“I welcome this move which will help considerably towards the UK’s Plastics Pact’s target of increasing plastic recycling.”

Once collected, the old soft plastic is sent for recycling where it is washed, sorted and as much of the material as possible is recycled into new products and packaging. 

In a recent sample, Tesco was able to recover over 80 percent of the soft plastic returned by customers.

It is now working with recyclers to explore what can be done with the remaining 20 percent, which is currently sent for every recovery.

Shoppers took to social media to share their thoughts on the huge rollout.

One person said: “Amazing work by Tesco, other supermarkets need to follow.”

Another wrote: “Yet another supermarket heading in the right direction by helping to tackle plastic.”

“Incredible work, the trial was extremely useful and I will definitely be shopping at Tesco,” a third commented.

A fourth customer said: “Love this from Tesco, they’re doing the right thing.”

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