Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket chain, has announced it will stop stocking products which use excessive plastic in a bit to cut down on its environmental impact.
After eliminating 4,000 tonnes of hard-to-recycle materials from its own-brand products, Tesco is now on to the second phase of its Remove, Reduce, Reuse, and Recycle initiative.
It aims to do away with non-recyclable plastic, reduce excess and unnecessary packaging, identify refill or reuse opportunities, and initiate a closed-loop recycling system.
Tesco said it will screen all other brand-products for excessive plastic packaging and the ones deemed to use inappropriate packaging will be taken off the shelves from next year onwards.
Writing for The Guardian, Dave Lewis, Tesco CEO, said: “We can’t overlook the fact that for too long, packaging on consumer goods has been excessive.
“We have all looked at the settled contents of a cereal packet and puzzled over the comparative size of the bag and box. Or opened a bag of crisps and wondered why the packaging is twice the size of the contents.”
In a meeting with over 1,500 suppliers, Tesco highlighted a case study that showed how a crisp manufacturer could reduce 5,000 tonnes of waste by simply reducing 23% of its multi-buy crisp packaging.
Smaller delivery pallets would also ensure less lorries are employed for transportation, reducing approximately 50,000 miles.
Plastic products can take up to 1,000 years to decompose and tons of plastic waste gets dumped into the ocean, where it harms and kills sea life.
Lewis said all sectors must work together to address the “urgent” issue of plastic contamination.
The supermarket chain wants the government to initiate a national collection and recycling network to deliver a closed loop for packaging and recycling.
‘A drop in the ocean’
“Without a national infrastructure, industry efforts to improve the recyclability of materials used in packaging will be a drop in the ocean,” said Lewis.
“In January 2018, we called on the government to introduce this infrastructure and offered to help, including giving space in our car parks for recycling and testing the collection of materials not currently recycled by local councils. That invitation stands and the need for action has never been more pressing,” he added.
Last month, Tesco also stopped using plastic in its home delivery orders, helping remove 250 million bags a year.
Sainsbury’s announced that it intends to remove plastic bags for all loose fruit, vegetables, and bakery items.
What else could supermarkets to do reduce their environmental impact? Share your thoughts in the comments section below!
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