Tesco and recycling service group Eurokey Recycling have teamed up to develop a plastic carrier bag that is made from the supermarket chain's ‘back-of-store' plastic waste, such as pallet wrap.
The bags, which will be available from this month, will be made with 80% material from post-consumer plastic waste and 20% recycled plastic waste from the production process on-site.
Material is collected by Eurokey, sorted in its eastern Europe facility and then processed and granulated at packaging group Papier-Mettler's facility in Germany.
The granulated recycled LDPE is used to produce Tesco single-use carrier bags, plus a part element of the Bag for Life. The bags also carry the Blue Angel environmental accreditation.
Robin Hughes, procurement manager at Tesco, said: “We are extremely proud to work with these suppliers to turn plastics from our business generated waste into our single use carrier bags.
“We believe that recycling materials back into products makes sense for the industry and the environment.”
Stuart Foster, chief executive of recycling consultancy Recoup said the initiative was “a perfect example of how joined up actions between the supply and recycling chain can deliver efficient recycling of plastic resources in a transparent way.
“This is a true plastics recycling success story and an example for others to follow.”
And Marcus Gover, a director at recycling charity Wrap, said of the project: “Tesco's move to include post-consumer plastic waste in their new carrier bags is a positive and welcome step.
“Tesco shoppers will now be able to appreciate first-hand the potential for recycled plastic and it will help reinforce a positive recycling message.”
In a statement Tesco explained why it exported the waste to Eastern Europe: “Our plastic waste is first moved out to a facility in Central Europe where it is separated by polymer in order to extract best opportunity for the materials.
“Papier-Mettler are our supplier of choice for our single use carrier bags, selected and retained due to a successful historical relationship, excellent quality and production capacity and their readiness to continue working with us to drive our closed loop agenda; their proximity to the sortation site supports this combined development.
“This supplier does not have a UK production capability nor were any of the existing UK facilities suitable for our requirements.”