Tesco wants to pay shoppers for returning plastic bottles

The supermarket giant announced plans to ban non-recyclable plastic packaging by 2019

Olivia Petter
Saturday 20 October 2018 10:51
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Tesco is trialling in-store recycling machines that will pay customers 10p for every plastic bottle they return as part of a new sustainability scheme.

The initiative is currently taking place at selected stores in Borehamwood, Hertfordshire, Swansea, Manchester, Edinburgh and Birmingham and will be rolled out across the country if deemed a success.

The move comes after the supermarket giant revealed its plans to ban all non-recyclable plastic packaging by 2019.

UK consumers go through roughly 13 billion plastic bottles a year, with more than three billion being incinerated or sent to landfill and subsequently polluting our land and seas.

Naturally, there is a limit to how many bottles can be deposited in the machines at one time, with shoppers able to return up to 10 bottles each per day.

In terms of the kinds of bottles that people can return, the machines will accept everything aside from own-brand products from other supermarkets.

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The recycling machines are expected to be popular among customers, as a recent YouGov poll revealed that 74 per cent of British consumers would return plastic bottles and aluminium cans under a deposit return scheme.

Tesco’s UK CEO Jason Tarry re-iterated that the scheme forms part of a wider aim to promote sustainability and inspire other retailers and manufacturers to follow suit.

“We would urge the government to move to a single, nationwide approach to waste collection that makes it much easier for people to recycle,” he said.

The supermarket also introduced a “bring your own container” scheme in October, which encourages customers to fill their own containers with food purchased from Tesco’s deli counters as opposed to using plastic or cardboard options available in-store.

However, these must be multi-use plastic sealable containers; metal, glass and cardboard ones will not be accepted.

Tesco’s new sustainability measures come after several other supermarkets set out similar plans to be more eco-friendly.

In April, Morrisons pledged to make all its packaging recyclable by 2025 while Lidl vowed to remove black plastic from its fruit and vegetable packaging, saving an estimated 50 tons of waste per year.

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