Tesco steps up packaging reduction strategy

Date : 23 August 2019

Tesco has launched the second phase of its Remove, Reduce, Re-use and Recycle plan. The new plans set out four steps that will govern packaging design across all product categories.

The sequence is as follows:

  • Remove all non-recyclable and hard to recycle material
  • Where this isn't possible, these materials must be reduced to a minimum, including excess packaging
  • Explore new opportunities to reuse packaging and if this isn't possible
  • Ensure it is all recycled as part of a closes loop
  • Target for for hard-to-recycle packaging within reach

    Since announcing its ambition in 2018 to remove hard-to-recycle materials, Tesco is on track to have eliminated the hardest to recycle materials from own brand products by the end of 2019, by removing over 4,000 tonnes of materials from 8,000 lines.

    Packaging to be assessed in category reviews

    Following its success in meeting the target for private label products, the retailer is now working with branded suppliers to do the same. At four meetings with over 1,500 suppliers, Tesco set out its vision for the next stage of its packaging agenda and from next year, the size and suitability of packaging will be assessed as part of category reviews and ranging decisions.

    Wider environmental benefits from using less packaging

    Information shared at the supplier meetings included a case study from a branded crisp manufacturer showing the benefits of tackling excess packaging. By reducing the size of packaging on multi-buy crisps by 23%, the manufacturer delivered a reduction of 5,000 tonnes in packaging weight and 50,000 less road miles as pallets were packed more efficiently, reducing the number of lorry journeys.

    Tesco calls for improvements to recycling infrastructure

    Tesco also reiterated its call for the government to introduce a national collection and recycling infrastructure to deliver a closed loop for packaging. Group CEO Dave Lewis said “Without a national infrastructure, industry efforts to improve the recyclability of materials used in packaging will be a drop in the ocean. 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”