Tesco to ditch brands with excessive packaging
Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said that brands with excessive hard-to-recycle plastic packaging will be banned from its stores and that the company will eliminate own-brand products with the same packaging.
Lewis said in an article published in the Guardian that the company would “reserve the right not to list” products with too much non-recyclable packaging from 2020.
Tesco gave suppliers a list of preferred materials in May 2018 but was now set to take action where it’s needed to fight plastic pollution and reduce environmental harm.
“We can’t overlook the fact that for too long, packaging on consumer goods has been excessive,” Lewis wrote. “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.”
In its latest annual report, Tesco said 13% of packaging on its own-brand products was hard to recycle, such as the black plastic used in microwaveable meals; these type of products would be cut by the end of 2019.
Other major retailers, such as Morrisons and Waitrose, had also trialled processes to reduce packaging, testing refill stations with food items such as pasta, wine and cleaning materials. Iceland last year pledged to eliminate all plastics in its own-brand products within five years.
Tesco was also trialling the Loop scheme, which aimed to dramatically increase packaging reuse.
But Lewis added a word of caution.
“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.”