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We’ve brought together the latest news and initiatives relating to recycling and sustainability. In this round-up, we’ll review how Tesco is planning to trial a new innovative system that converts plastic to oil, while Asda is set to launch a partnership that aims to increase the recyclability of baby food pouches. We’ll also look at Aldi’s pledge to develop fully sustainable packaging by 2025, while in Russia, Budweiser is launching the ReCup sports arena using recycled plastic bottles.

Tesco to trial an innovative system that converts soft plastics back into oil…

Tesco has sealed a deal with Swindon-based recycling firm Recycling Technologies which will allow it to trial a brand-new system that converts soft plastics back into oil. Waste plastic would initially be collected from 10 stores across Swindon and Bristol. Customers will be encouraged to bring items that are usually not collected by local authorities such as pet food pouches, carrier bags and crisp packets into specific collection points across the 10 stores in question. The collected waste will be then fed to Recycling Technologies machines where it will be converted to solid oil that can be used into the manufacturing of new plastic products.

This initiative is a part of Tesco’s aim to meet its UK Plastics Act commitment (100% recyclable, reusable or biodegradable plastic packaging by 2025). Tesco’s director of quality Sarah Bradbury said, “Reducing and recycling plastics is such an important issue for us, for customers and for the future of our planet. Our trial with Recycling Technologies will make even more of our packaging recyclable and help us reach our 2025 target. This technology could be the final piece of the jigsaw for the UK plastic recycling industry.”

Tesco has also been working recently to drive the creation of a closed loop system for plastics and offered reverse vending machines in support for a national deposit return scheme.

Asda, TerraCycle and Ella's Kitchen partnership to roll out baby food pouch recycling scheme…

Ella’s Kitchen has been working with TerraCycle since 2010 on a recycling solution for baby food pouches. Over 400 public drop-off points have been created so far in the UK for the pouches to be sent to TerraCycle for recycling. Aiming to double the number of pouches recycled by 2021, a six-month trial has been launched which will see Freepost envelopes (where up to 15 food pouches of any brand can be placed) provided at 37 Asda stores. The envelops are then posted to TerraCycle to be recycled into new items such as benches and fence posts.

Ella’s Kitchen’s head Mark Cuddigan said: “Our pouches are great in so many ways, they’re lightweight, convenient and they keep our yummy organic food tasty and safe for little ones. But our big challenge is that they are not currently accepted for recycling by local councils in the UK.

“We want to change this and that’s why we’re proud to have partnered with Asda to offer a new way for parents and carers to recycle all of their baby food pouches through our EllaCycle programme.”

At the same time, Aldi pledges fully sustainable packaging by 2025

Converting 100% of its packaging to be reusable, recyclable or compostable materials by 2025: That is the goal Aldi has set itself. The retailer is also aiming to reduce packaging by 15% and add How2Recycle labels on all its Aldi-exclusive products. Traditionally, Aldi has long been active in plastic reduction, deliberately avoiding single-use shopping bags for over 40 years. It is also maintaining its Aldi Corporate Responsibility programme which enabled 250,000 tons of materials from its stores to be recycled last year.

And finally, Budweiser is using plastic bottles to create a coating for a new football pitch…

One of the official partners of the 2018 FIFA World Cup, Budweiser, has managed to collect and recycle more than 50,000 cups with the help of a local committee that were used to create a wear-resistant coating for a new football pitch for the Budweiser ReCup Arena in Sochi, Russia.

“The FIFA World Cup is a celebration for millions of fans not only in Russia, but around the world. Throughout the tournament, Budweiser surprised fans with its activations, gave them euphoric emotions, so we decided to create a unique facility – Budweiser ReCup Arena – specifically to extend this experience. Hopefully, this pitch will remind us of the past tournament and, probably, will help someone start a promising football career,” AB InBev’s Efes marketing director Konstantin Tamirov said.

We look in more detail at how Tesco is trialling removing plastic packaging on some of its fruit and vegetables.

Plastic-free for 45 products

In an effort to reduce plastic waste Tesco has launched a month-long trial to remove plastic packaging on a selection of its fruit and vegetables. The trial will take place in its Watford and Swindon stores. The plastic packaging will be removed from 45 products where loose alternatives are available.

Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


Tesco announced in 2018 that it would ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019, ensure all paper and board used is 100% sustainable by 2025 and make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025. This is all part of its ambition to get to a closed loop packaging system and achieve zero waste. To do this Tesco also wants to improve recovery and recycling, working with the government on a national recycling infrastructure. Alongside this is will be working to raise awareness in order to change shopper behaviour.

Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


Speaking at the IGD 2018 Tesco Business Update Jason Tarry, chief product officer said;

"To complete the journey to a closed loop approach, we stand ready to work with government to reform the current approach to recycling in the UK."
Source: Tesco Extra, Watford, IGD ResearchTesco Extra, Watford, IGD Research


The movement towards plastic-free is positive in many ways, not just that it is good for the environment. As shoppers become more conscious of the impact retailers are having, taking action to show responsibility in this area is becoming more important for maintaining a positive image. It also looks good in store and is convenient for shoppers as they can buy the exact quantity they want. However, there is a risk of damage to products and potential for it to create a messy environment. Tesco will need to manage the stock effectively to ensure no significant damage to products, and that there is none left over that shoppers will not buy.

Tesco customers can place orders via an app for grocery deliveries made by robot.

Tesco is working with Starship Technologies to offer customers the ability to order groceries from a Tesco Extra store in Milton Keynes. Deliveries in as little as 15 minutes, within a 2-mile radius of the store, will be possible. There are over 1000 products listed on the Starship App, and customers will pay the standard shelf price, plus £1 for delivery.

The robots can carry up to 10 kilos in weight and travel up to 4 mph. Each robot has a GPS tracking system, it can be controlled by a remote operator and its location can be viewed by the customer on the app. Groceries are picked in store, then placed in a secure compartment and the customer can access their purchases through a link sent to them through the app.

Source: Starship Technologies

Increased robot usage across food and grocery industries.

Starship Technologies previously trialled unaccompanied robot deliveries in Milton Keynes with Co-op in 2018, fulfilling around 1,000 grocery orders. Co-op used the robots again over the Christmas period to deliver groceries and collect letters from children to deliver to Santa. Co-op will be continuing the trial with the robots this year. Usage of these robots has also been trialled by Just Eat for takeaway food deliveries and also by Hermes for parcel deliveries.


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