February 26, 2024

Tesco is scrapping plastic packaging from its own brand of handkerchiefs, in a move which the UK’s biggest supermarket says will eliminate almost 35 tonnes of new soft plastic waste each year.

It is the first major supermarket to make the change, which will see the individual packaging and the wrap around multipacks of Tesco nappies in its soft white and balm ranges replaced with Forest Stewardship Council certified paper packs.

Tesco began the rollout before Christmas and said the changes would prevent more than 55 million pieces of soft plastic from entering landfill and the wider environment each year.

“Unlike boxes of tissues, the pocket version tends to be used on the go and can too easily become litter,” said Tesco’s campaign manager Courtney Pallett. “The new paper packaging works just as well as the old plastic wrap, but is more sustainable.”

Tesco is one of the main signatories of the British Plastics Conventionwhich is led by sustainability charity Wrap and has set targets to achieve by 2025, including eliminating problem plastics and ensuring 100% of plastic packaging can be reused, recycled or compostable.

In his latest annual reportThe pact’s directors outlined their progress so far, which includes removing 730 million plastic items from supermarket shelves since 2018, and the fact that rigid plastic packaging is now 94% recyclable.

Tesco says the company has removed almost 2.2 billion pieces of plastic from its operations since 2019. This includes wrapping multi-pack cans and greeting cards, lids from products including wipes, yogurt and cream, and plastic bags from his grocery deliveries.

Part of that pressure, however, comes from government-mandated changes, including rules that took effect in 2020 to limit providing disposable plastic straws, drink stirrers and cotton budsand a tax introduced in 2022 on plastic packaging that is not at least 30% recycled.

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Meanwhile, the consumption of single-use supermarket plastic bags dropped by 98% since retailers in England started asking for them in 2015.

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