Tesco’s 4Rs strategy – Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – will see non-recyclable and excess packaging removed from its business. Where it can’t be removed, for example where it prevents food waste, Tesco will work with its suppliers to reduce it ‘to an absolute minimum’.
‘Well done Tesco for taking responsibility and making steps towards a plastic-free future. New forecasts predict that we are quadrupling plastic production within the next decade, so anything that focuses on real reduction is needed fast.
‘With the plastic crisis only getting worse, removing plastic packaging must sit at the top of the agenda for all major supermarkets. For too long recycling has been touted as a viable solution to plastic pollution, but with plastic production only ramping up, quadrupling in the next decade, it is clear our attempts to recycle our way out of the problem have failed catastrophically. It is not the answer.
‘Shoppers buy what they are sold. It really is that simple. Grocery shopping has now become a total guilt-trip. Finally Tesco will ease this guilt by selling their customers plastic free choice.’
A Plastic Planet co-founder
The retailer will explore new opportunities to reuse its packaging and ensure that anything left is all recycled as part of a closed loop. If packaging can’t be recycled, ‘it will have no place at Tesco’.
‘Tesco is absolutely doing the right thing in looking to reduce the number of pieces of plastic packaging it produces.
‘When supermarkets focus solely on reducing their packaging by weight, this can trigger a policy of light-weighting – meaning packaging gets thinner or smaller, but still exists as a throwaway item that can pollute our waterways and harm marine wildlife.
‘Last year Tesco produced more than 18bn pieces of plastic, so they’ve still got plenty of work to do, but this is a good start and we hope to see further reductions when it introduces its reusable packaging scheme for online orders in the New Year.’
Head of Greenpeace UK’s ocean plastics campaign