Tesco has said it welcomes the UK government’s commitment to consistent kerbside collection and recycling infrastructure but it “strongly encourages” an acceleration of the timetable for delivery.
In Tesco’s Packaging Report 2023, the supermarket commented on plans for consistent collections and deposit return schemes (DRS) across the UK and said it is ready to play an “active part” in helping make recycling simple and easy for customers.
In the report, Tesco said “we must learn the lessons from Scotland on DRSs” and having multiple different approaches to DRSs within the UK jeopardises the sustainability and viability of schemes.
On 18 April, in his first key Holyrood speech, Scotland’s First Minister (FM) Humza Yousaf announced the Scottish DRS has been delayed until 1 March 2024. Following the delay, Circular Economy Minister Lorna Slater announced a range of measures aimed at making it easier for drinks producers and retailers to prepare for the Scottish DRS.
Tesco also said that it would welcome government intervention in produce packaging removal to ensure there is a “level playing field” and change is made at scale. To get to scale, Tesco said that industry must work together to continue to “innovate on reuse”.
The supermarket said in the report that reusable packaging is the “biggest opportunity” to transform the UK’s packaging environment, however, it emphasised that no single retailer or supplier can influence the market alone. The report also said industry must find ways to give products in reusable packaging price parity with their single-use alternatives.
The report focuses on Tesco’s 4Rs strategy which is a commitment to “remove packaging where we can, Reduce it where we can’t, Reuse more and Recycle what’s left”. By 2025, Tesco has committed to ensuring all its own brand packaging materials are fully recyclable.
As part of its progress to date, in the report Tesco said it has permanently removed 2 billion pieces of plastic from its UK business, removed or reduced 4,500 tonnes of packaging, featured 100 products in its Loop trial and made 96% of its packaging is fully recyclable through kerbside collection, recycling collection points or the soft plastic collection points in its stores.