Tesco drives supply chain to ditch 1.5 billion pieces of plastic

Tesco has removed more than one and a half billion pieces of plastic from its UK business since it launched its 4Rs packaging strategy, encouraging suppliers to develop sustainable solutions.

The packaging strategy, which centres around the 4Rs – remove, reduce, reuse and recycle – is a business-wide programme that assesses every piece of packaging. It then removes all unnecessary and non-recyclable material.

The supermarket giant drove engagement across the supply chain by telling suppliers that it reserved the right to stop stocking products in excessive plastic packaging or hard-to-recycle materials. It then helped suppliers develop more sustainable packaging solutions.

Following the 4R principles, 500 million pieces of unnecessary plastic have been identified and removed in the last 12 months alone. These include more than 200 million bags from Tesco.com deliveries, 42 million plastic forks from ready-to-eat meals,14 million plastic chicken trays and 48 million own-brand plastic straws.

Read more: Tesco turns soft plastic into bin liners with new recycling solution

Since the strategy launched in August 2019, Tesco has removed more than 75 million tin multipack wraps and over 100 million additional lids, as well as hundreds of millions of fruit punnets, wrapping and other unnecessary plastic items.

“We all have a responsibility to take care of our planet and removing unnecessary plastic is an important way that Tesco can reduce its environmental impact,” said Tesco’s quality director, Sarah Bradbury.

“While we are proud of this achievement, we know we have more to do and our work to tackle the impact of plastic waste will continue in 2022 and beyond.”

Tesco also began working with Loop in September last year, to trial a range of food, drink, household and beauty products in reusable packaging. Customers in ten large Tesco stores can now buy products in packaging that can be returned to store when finished so it can be cleaned, refilled and used again.

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