British grocery retailer Tesco has begun collecting previously unrecyclable plastics in 10 of its stores in and around Swindon and Bristol in the U.K. that will be recycled through a trial program with Recycling Technologies, Swindon.
At the stores involved in the trial, customers will be able to return everything from pet food pouches to shopping bags and crisp packets, all of which cannot commonly be recycled by local councils. The packaging will be recycled using Recycling Technologies’ process that chemically converts the plastic into Plaxx, a hydrocarbon product. Plaxx can then be used to manufacture new plastic.
Tesco’s Director of Quality Sarah Bradbury says, “Reducing and recycling plastics is such an important issue for us, for customers and for the future of our planet. That’s why we are working hard to reduce the amount of packaging in our stores and have committed that all remaining packaging will be recyclable by 2025.
“Our trial with Recycling Technologies will make even more of our packaging recyclable and help us reach our target. This technology could be the final piece of the jigsaw for the U.K. plastic recycling industry,” she adds.
WWF UK’s Sustainable Materials Specialist Paula Chin says, “It’s great to see Tesco running this innovative trial offering customers an easy way to recycle more and waste less. From our local beaches to the remote Arctic, plastic is choking our oceans and killing wildlife. Eight million [metric tons] are dumped into our seas every year—killing turtles, fish, whales
“We are delighted to be working with Tesco to help its customers recycle more of their household plastic waste,” says Recycling Technologies’ Chief Executive Adrian Griffiths. “Using our specialist feedstock recycling process, we keep more plastic waste in the economy and out of
Currently, 83 percent of Tesco’s packaging is recyclable. Should this soft-plastics collection be rolled out to all Tesco stores, Recycling Technologies says it is estimated that 90 percent of the store’s own label packaging—the equivalent of 65,000 additional metric tons of plastic—will be recycled. Tesco is working toward packaging that is fully recyclable by 2025. The company already is embarking on a trial to remove packaged fruit and vegetables wherever loose alternatives exist in two stores.