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Tesco trials new technology allowing shoppers to recycle soft-plastics in Bristol and Swindon area

Shoppers in West Country will soon be able to recycle soft-plastics Credit: Tesco

Shoppers will be able to recycle soft-plastics for the first time as Tesco embarks on a new trial in their Bristol and Swindon stores in an aim to make all plastic packaging recyclable.

Ten stores will be using a brand new technology to prevent previously un-recyclable packaging from going to waste.

The supermarket will team up with UK recycling specialist, Recycling Technologies, as part of their commitment to create a closed-loop packaging system, which eliminates waste to landfill.

The trial will give British shoppers the opportunity to return soft-plastic packaging which cannot be recycled by local councils, including items such as pet food packets, shopping bags and crisp packets.

Tesco has committed to creating a closed-loop packaging system Credit: Tesco

This initiative with Tesco is designed to show there are solutions to recover this important material.

– Adrian Griffiths, CEO, Recycling Technologies
320mil
tons of plastic produced globally in 2016. This is set to double by 2034. (Surfers Against Sewage)

WHAT IS SOFT PLASTIC?

  • Soft plastics are any plastics that can be scrunched into a ball or broken by hand.
  • This includes shrink wrap, bubble wrap, plastic bags, pet food packets, shopping bags and crisp packets.

Tesco’s director of quality, Sarah Bradbury, said: "This technology could be the final piece of the jigsaw for the UK plastic recycling industry.”

Recycling Technologies' new invention will turn waste plastic back into an oil called Plaxx®. This oil will then be re-used in the manufacture of new plastic.

8 million tonnes of plastic are dumped into the seas each year.  (WWF research) Credit: PA Images
8mil
tonnes of plastic dumped into the seas each year.  (WWF research)

Paula Chin, WWF UK’s Sustainable Materials Specialist, backs the new trial.

She said: "While we can all do our bit by reducing the plastic we buy and embracing reusable items, we need producers, businesses and governments to face their responsibilities too.”

This move follows an announcement last week of a trial in two of Tesco's Watford and Swindon stores, removing packaged fruit and vegetables wherever a loose alternative exists.

90%
of all Tesco’s own label packaging is estimated to be recyclable if the trial is successful.
65,000
tonnes of plastic will be put to 'good use' if the scheme is rolled out nationwide.

Tesco have also committed to making all remaining packaging fully recyclable by 2025.

WHICH STORES ARE TAKING PART?

  • Bristol Lime Trees Road Superstore
  • Yate Extra
  • Bristol Brislington Extra
  • Bristol Staple Hill Metro
  • Keynsham Superstore
  • Bristol East Extra
  • Cirencester Metro – Farrell Close
  • Cirencester Extra
  • Swindon Extra
  • Tetbury Superstore
Plastic kills and harms marine life such as jellyfish, turtles and seabirds (WWF research) Credit: PA Images