Tesco to launch UK’s biggest network of recycling points for soft plastic

Tesco has begun rolling out soft plastic recycling points to 171 stores in the South West of England and Wales with plans to roll out to all large stores nationwide. This will be the first time that the UK has had a network of collection points of this size dedicated to the collection of soft plastic. Most councils don’t collect soft plastic from homes for recycling and it therefore often goes to landfill.

The collection points will enable customers to return all their previously unrecycled soft plastic, regardless of where they bought it, including cling film, pet food pouches and crisp packets to recycling points at their local store, rather than having to throw it away.

Once collected, the old soft plastic is sent for recycling where it is washed, sorted and processed before being turned into new packaging. It will be used into pack items such as food, household and beauty products.

The roll out follows an extremely successful 10-store trial where customers responded positively, returning more than 10 times the expected amount of plastic. The material has already been used to produce food-grade packaging for a selection of Tesco cheeses.

The most common items to be returned during the trial were:

  • Bread bags
  • Fruit and vegetable packaging
  • Crisp packets
  • Salad bags
  • Baby and pet food pouches

Tesco’s Director of Quality, Sarah Bradbury, said:

“It is an absolute priority to remove and reduce as much plastic as possible and ensure everything we use is recycled and kept out of the environment. Where plastic serves an important purpose such as reducing food waste, these new recycling points make sure that every piece can be easily recycled. Trials have shown they are popular with customers, so we believe rolling them out at scale will have a real impact.

Paula Chin, WWF Sustainable Materials Specialist said:

“Plastic pollution is one of the most visible symptoms of the environmental crisis and is devastating our natural world. Businesses, governments and households have all got an important part to play in tackling the issue, so it’s encouraging to see Tesco extending their successful soft plastics collection trial across more of their stores, giving their customers even more opportunity to recycle these valuable materials.”

Tesco has made significant progress in addressing the impact of plastic waste through its 4Rs strategy: Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle. Within this framework, Tesco prioritises using less plastic ahead of recycling: Tesco recently announced it hit its 2020 target to remove a billion pieces of plastic and had additionally reduced the size of plastic packaging by 3500 tonnes a year. It has also made significant steps to using more reusable packaging through its nationwide partnership with Loop.

Soft plastic recycling facilities will help recycle remaining materials as a part of a closed loop: Tesco first started testing soft plastics recycling facilities in a ten-store trial in 2018, where it has since collected 120 tonnes of plastic for recycling.

The full list of 171 stores that will have a soft plastics recycling collection facility can be found below:

Aberdare
Abergavenny
Abertillery
Abingdon Extra
Addlestone Extra
Amersham
Ammanford
Ashford Middlesex Extra
Axminster
Aylesbury 2
Aylesbury Extra
Banbury
Bar Hill
Barnstaple
Barnstaple Taw View
Barry
Bicester
Bideford
Brackley
Bracknell
Bracknell North
Braunton
Bridgend 1
Bridgend Extra
Brislington
Bristol 2
Bristol Bradley Stoke
Bristol East Extra
Bristol Metro
Bristol Staple Hill
Brooklands Extra
Buckingham
Burnham-On-Sea
Caerphilly Crossways
Callington
Calne Beversbrook Road
Cam Dursley
Camborne
Cardiff Canton
Cardiff Extra
Cardiff Pengam Extra
Cardiff Roath Metro
Cardigan
Carmarthen
Chard
Chepstow
Chippingham
Cirencester 1
Cirencester Extra
Clevedon
Crediton
Cullompton
Culverhouse Cross
Didcot
Dunstable
Ebbw Vale
Egham
Exeter Metro
Exeter Vale
Exmouth
Falmouth Metro
Faringdon Pk Rd
Feltham
Feltham Dukes Green
Gerrards Cross
Glastonbury
Gloucester Churchdown
Harrow 2
Haverfordwest
Hayes Bulls B/Dge Ext
Helston
Hemel Hempstead
Henley
Hereford 1
Hereford 2
High Wycombe
High Wycombe Loudwtr
Honiton
Hoover Building
Hungerford
Ilfracombe
Ilminster
Kensington
Keynsham
Kidlington
Kingsbridge
Landrindod Wells
Langport
Launceston
Ledbury
Lee Mill Extra
Leighton Buzzard
Llanelli Extra
Lydney High Street
M/Tydfil Beacon Place
Maesteg
Marlborough
Midsomer Norton
Milford Haven
Minehead
Nailsea
Neath Abbey
Newbury
Newbury Extra
Newbury Metro
Newport Gwent Extra
Newport Spytty Rd
Newton Abbot
Oxford
Oxford 2
Padstow
Pembroke Dock
Penarth
Penwortham
Penzance
Pinner
Plymouth Metro
Plymouth Roborough
Plymouth Transit Way
Pontardawe
Pontardulais
Pontypool
Pontypridd
Port Talbot East Bank
Princes Risborough
Quedgeley
Reading Battle Hospital
Reading Extra
Redfield
Redruth Extra
Redruth Tolgus
Rickmansworth
Risca
Seaton
Shepton Mallet
Slough Wellington Extra
St Austell 2
St Ives
St Mellons
Stow-On-The-Wold
Stroud
Sunbury Extra
Swansea 3 Enterprise
Swansea Extra
Swansea Marina
Swindon Extra
Swindon Metro
Talbot Green Extra
Taplow
Taunton
Tavistock
Teddington
Tenbury Wells
Tetbury
Thornbury
Tiverton
Torquay Metro
Tring
Trowbridge
Truro
Twickenham
Wadebridge
Wells
Weston Super Mare
Windsor
Wokingham
Yate
Yeading Extra
Yiewsley
Ystrad Mynach
Ystradgynlais Wind Rd

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