Tesco ditches more than 1.5bn pieces of plastic from packaging

The supermarket removed plastic from a range of items, including wrapped tinned multipacks, plastic wrapping from cans of branded beers and ciders as well as from greeting cards

Big Zero Report 2023

Tesco has announced the removal of more than one and a half billion pieces of plastic from its packaging in its UK business.

The achievement follows the launch of the supermarket’s 4Rs packaging strategy, which aims to remove plastics where it can, reduce where it can’t and reuse more and recycle what’s left.

Since the strategy was launched, Tesco removed plastic wrapped tinned multipacks, totalling more than 75 million pieces a year, all 50 million pieces of plastic wrapping from cans of branded beers and ciders and more than 50 million pieces of plastic from greeting cards.

It also eliminated more than 100 million additional lids from products, including wipes, creams, yoghurts and desserts and millions of plastic punnets from products such as peaches, plums and tomatoes.

Around 500 million more pieces of unnecessary plastic were identified and removed over the last 12 months, with the most recent annual savings including the removal of more than 200 million bags from its online deliveries and 14 million plastic chicken trays from whole chickens.

In addition, it removed 42 million plastic forks from prepared salads and rice bowls, which were replaced by the option of wooden alternatives and 48 million own-brand plastic straws were replaced with paper alternatives.

Last September, the supermarket partnered with Loop to start trialling a range of food, drinks and household and beauty products in reusable packaging, with customers in 10 large Tesco stores now able to buy products in packaging that can be returned to the store when finished so it can be cleaned, refilled and used again.

Tesco Quality Director Sarah Bradbury said: “We all have a responsibility to take care of our planet and removing unnecessary plastic is an important way that Tesco can reduce its environmental impact. While we are proud of this achievement, we know we have more to do and our work to tackle the impact of plastic waste will continue in 2022 and beyond.”

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