There is now a way for some of Britain’s shoppers to stop the hardest to recycle, soft plastics from going to waste. This week, Tesco will start collecting previously unrecyclable plastics to be recycled in ten of its stores as part of a trial with the recycling specialist, Recycling Technologies.
Customers will be able to return to trial stores everything from pet food pouches to shopping bags and crisp packets, all of which cannot commonly be recycled by local councils; safe in the knowledge that the packaging will be sent for recycling through Recycling Technologies’ new, state of the art recycling process.
This comes as part of Tesco’s efforts to make all its packaging recyclable, creating a closed loop – preventing packaging from going to waste.
The plastics trial begins with the installation of ten collection booths at Tesco stores in and around the Swindon and Bristol areas. Recycling Technologies has developed and patented a process to turn waste plastic back into oil, Plaxx® – a material which can then be used in the manufacture of new plastic.
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. That’s why we are working hard to reduce the amount of packaging in our stores and have committed that all remaining packaging will be recyclable by 2025.
“Our trial with Recycling Technologies will make even more of our packaging recyclable and help us reach our target. This technology could be the final piece of the jigsaw for the UK plastic recycling industry.”
WWF UK’s Sustainable Materials Specialist, Paula Chin said: “It’s great to see Tesco running this innovative trial, looking for new ways to make it easier for customers to recycle plastic materials which would usually go in their waste bins. From our local beaches to the remote Arctic, plastic is choking our oceans and killing wildlife. Eight million tonnes are dumped into our seas every year – killing turtles, fish, whales and birds. While we can all do our bit by reducing the plastic we buy and embracing reusable items, we need producers, businesses and governments to face their responsibilities too.”
Recycling Technologies’ Chief Executive, Adrian Griffiths said: “We are delighted to be working with Tesco to help its customers recycle more of their household plastic waste. Using our specialist feedstock recycling process we keep more plastic waste in the economy and out of landfill and our oceans This initiative with Tesco is designed to show there are solutions to recover this important material. Our goal is to double the UK’s capacity to recycle plastic waste by 2027.”
83% of all Tesco’s packaging is currently recyclable. Should this soft-plastics collection be rolled out to all Tesco stores, it is estimated that it will be possible to recycle around 90% of Tesco’s own label packaging – the equivalent of 65,000 additional tonnes of plastic being put to good use every year. Tesco is working toward its commitment that all of its packaging is fully recyclable by 2025.
This follows Tesco’s announcement last week of a trial removing packaged fruit and veg wherever a loose alternative exists in two stores.
Last year, Tesco made strides towards its ambition for a closed loop packaging system, sharing its intention to stop packing products in the hardest to recycle materials by the end of 2019.