Following a series of initiatives to reduce plastic packaging, including collection of waste films and selling specific products without plastic packaging, Tesco has announced that it is planning to remove all plastics from across its own-brand products.
This will include ready meal trays, yogurt pot lids, straws and fruit bags. Additionally, plastic would be removed from clothing and greeting cards.
Small plastic carrier bags will be replaced with paper alternatives.
The move could see up to 1 billion individual pieces of plastic removed from shelves across the brand’s supermarkets.
The company has stated that approximately 13% of its plastic packaging could be considered ‘hard to recycle’, including black plastic trays for ready meals.
As part of the proposed plan, the grocer would no longer stock products with excessive, non-recyclable packaging from next year.
The move comes as the government considers changes to the recycling infrastructure, which would see retailers paying as much as £1bn towards recycling funding, up from about £70m now.
Other retailers have also launched initiatives to reduce plastic usage. Morrisons and Waitrose have both introduced stations designed to support refillable carriers for various products.
In 2018, frozen food retailer Iceland pledged to remove all plastic from its own-brand products over the next five years.
The company, though, has encountered some problems with the proposal. Iceland had stopped selling bananas in plastic bags, but the move was not accepted by customers and the bags were brought back in early 2019.
The shelf life of bananas is extended due to plastic wrap. This, though, is a benefit for the supermarket rather than the consumer, as most will be immediately removed from the package at home.
The company also opened a trial plastic-free store in Liverpool, but the supermarket was closed after just three months due to a 20% drop in sales.