The British supermarket chain Tesco has announced that it will begin excluding brands from its stores in the UK that use too much non-recyclable or excessive packaging in their products. News provider The Guardian published an article on August 22, 2019, discussing the planned changes. Dave Lewis, Tesco’s chief executive, said “we can’t overlook the fact that for too long, packaging on consumer goods has been excessive. We have all looked at the settled contents of a cereal packet and puzzled over the comparative size of the bag and box. Or opened a bag of crisps and wondered why the packaging is twice the size of the contents.” 13% of Tesco’s own branded products were found to be difficult to recycle, including the black plastic used in microwaveable meals. This issue is set to be addressed by the end of 2019, and the company is pressuring other product suppliers to do the same. The company plans to “reserve the right not to list” products with too much non-recyclable packaging starting next year. Lewis also called for the increase of national infrastructure to handle all of the waste. “Today, recycling rates vary across local authorities from 65% to 14%. Without a national infrastructure, industry efforts to improve the recyclability of materials used in packaging will not have the impact we need.”

The announcement comes following a number of initiatives by Tesco in recent years aiming to investigate and reduce packaging. In 2018, Tesco released a list of preferred materials to its suppliers, and it also announced that it would phase out non-recyclable plastics (FPF reported). Most recently, it trialed packaging-free produce at two of its larger stores in England (FPF reported).

Read more

Jasper Jolly (August 22, 2019). “Tesco promises to ban brands that use excessive packaging.” The Guardian