Tesco has pledged to ban all products from its shelves that use “excessive or inappropriate” packaging in an attempt to reduce plastic waste.
The supermarket launched the second phase of its ‘Remove, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle’ plan, setting out four steps that will govern packaging design across all product categories.
They include removing all non-recyclable and hard to recycle materials; reducing them to an “absolute minimum” where they can’t be removed; exploring new opportunities to reuse it; and ensuring those that can’t be reused are recycled as part of a closed loop.
As part of the commitment, Tesco will have eliminated 4,000 tonnes of the hardest to recycle materials from its own brand products by the end of 2019 and wants to work with brands that do the same.
Group CEO Dave Lewis said: “In the first quarter of 2018, we audited all packaging materials in our business and set ourselves a challenge to remove all hard to recycle material by 2019; we’re on track for Tesco own brand and we’re working with branded suppliers to deliver the same. Now we’re taking the next step and tackling excess packaging.
“From next year, we will assess packaging as part of our ranging decisions and if it’s excessive or inappropriate, we reserve the right not to list it.”
Information shared at a meeting with Tesco and more than 1,500 of its suppliers included a case study from a crisp manufacturer that showed the benefits of tackling excess packaging.
The supermarket says 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, therefore reducing the number of lorry journeys.
Tesco also reiterated its call for the government to introduce a national collection and recycling infrastructure to deliver a closed loop for packaging.