UK retailer Tesco has announced plans to remove non-recyclable packaging from its business by next year.
The retailer has urged the UK Government to support the development of a ‘closed-loop’ system by setting up a consistent recycling infrastructure across the country.
Through the closed system, the company seeks to eliminate, reduce and redesign packaging materials and their use.
Measures planned by the retailer include improving recovery and recycling, and raising awareness among customers to achieve behavioural changes.
Tesco chief product officer Jason Tarry said: “We are committed to reducing the total amount of packaging used across our business. Ideally, we would like to move to a closed-loop system.
“We will work with our suppliers to redesign and reduce all packaging materials and after consultation with our leading suppliers earlier this year we will remove all packaging that is hard to recycle from our business by 2019.
“To complete the journey to a closed-loop approach, we stand ready to work with government to reform the current approach to recycling in the UK.”
‘Hard to recycle’ types of packaging being removed by the retailer include PVC, polystyrene, oxy degradable materials, polylactic acid (PLA), water-soluble bioplastics, and industrial compostables.
Other materials being considered for elimination include cellulose and Natureflex, oriented polypropylene, black plastic, polypropylene (for certain food applications) and complex laminates.
The retailer has disclosed that it will shift its focus to sustainably sourced wood, board, paper and glassine, polyethylene terephthalate (PET), glass, polypropylene (non-food), HDPE and LDPE, polyethylene, steel, and aluminium.
In October last year, Tesco pledge to switch to fully recyclable or compostable packaging, and ensure that all paper and board will be 100% sustainable.
However, a number of environmentalists are not fully satisfied with Tesco’s latest announcement.
Greenpeace UK oceans campaigner Elena Polisano welcomed the move, stating that the retailer has not given any commitment to reduce the volume of its packaging.
Polisano said: “As the UK’s largest grocer, Tesco could be a game-changer on plastic packaging.
“But Tesco hasn’t set a much-needed yearly target for decreasing its volume of plastic packaging, which all supermarkets must do to curb plastic pollution.”