Tesco pledges to remove one billion pieces of plastic from products by the end of 2020

Tesco has today (Friday November 1) announced it will remove one billion pieces of plastic from products for sale in UK stores by the end of 2020 as a part of its ‘4Rs’ plan to tackle the use of plastics in its business.

The supermarket chain’s 4Rs [Remove, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle] strategy means it will remove non-recyclable and excess packaging from its business. Where it can’t be removed, for example where it prevents food waste, Tesco says it will work with its suppliers to reduce it to an absolute minimum. The retailer added that it will explore new opportunities to reuse its packaging.

To remove one billion pieces from Tesco own-brand products by the end of 2020, Tesco will be removing:

  • small plastic bags, commonly used to pack loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items, and replacing them with paper ones
  • plastic trays from ready meals
  • secondary lids on products such as cream, yoghurts and cereals
  • sporks and straws from snack pots and drinks cartons
  • 200m pieces of plastic used to pack clothing and greetings cards

In August, Tesco met 1,500 suppliers to let them know that packaging will form a key part of its decision-making process which determines which products are sold in its stores. The retailer has worked with its suppliers, making clear that it reserves the right to no longer stock products that use excessive or hard to recycle materials.

Tesco has already stopped offering carrier bags with online deliveries – a decision which will stop 250 million bags being produced every year.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said: Our work to Remove, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle is already transforming our packaging. Over the next 12 months, we will remove one billion pieces of plastic, further reducing the environmental impact of the products we sell. By focusing on solutions that we can apply across all our UK stores and supply chain, we can make a significant difference and achieve real scale in our efforts to tackle plastic.”

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