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Tesco to scrap plastic-wrapped multipacks

The retailer will roll out the move on all own-branded and branded canned food products from 2nd March 2020 .

Supermarket giant Tesco has pledged to scrap shrink-wrapped multipacks across all its own-brand and branded tinned food in a move that will remove 350 million tonnes of plastic a year.

The move – the first of its kind by a major UK retailer – has seen it join forces with canned food firms including Heinz and Green Giant to remove all plastic-wrapped multi-packs and replace them with multi-buy deals. It will apply to all canned food, including household favourites such as baked beans, sweetcorn, soup and tinned tomatoes.

We are removing all unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic from Tesco. As part of this work, removing plastic-wrapped multipacks from every Tesco store in the UK will cut 350 tonnes of plastic from the environment every year and customers will still benefit from the same great value ‘multipack’ price. Removing plastic wrapped multipacks from every Tesco store in the UK will cut 350 tonnes of plastic from the environment every year.

Dave Lewis Tesco Chief executive

Tesco will roll out the changes from 2nd March, with no more plastic-wrapped multipacks ordered by the group from then, though it will continue to sell down remaining stocks. This pledge will see 67 million pieces of plastic removed from its stores, taking it another step nearer its aim of cutting out one billion pieces from its own products by the end of the year.

More than 40% of Tesco customers buy tinned multipacks, with 183,000 sold across its stores every day. More than 100 million Heinz products alone are sold in plastic-wrapped multipacks each year through Tesco.

Heinz said it is looking at similar initiatives with other retailers, estimating that if it could be expanded across the entire market, it would help reduce CO2 emissions by as much as 3,300 tonnes.

The retailer had already run a trial to remove plastic-wrapped multipacks of tinned products in its Bar Hill Extra store, where it tests a raft of packaging pilots.

Georgiana de Noronha, president of Kraft Heinz in Northern Europe, said: “While we know we have more to do, this initiative is good news for the environment, and for the millions of people who enjoy Heinz varieties every day, as they’ll still be able to benefit from the same great value for money our multipacks provide.”

At the end of last year, Tesco removed all hard-to-recycle materials from its own-brand products and is working with suppliers to do the same. The group has also warned 1,500 suppliers that packaging will be a deciding factor on which products are sold in its stores.

Businesses across all sectors are being asked to respond to this emergency by changing their products and processes to reduce their plastic use. Such change takes time and money, it also takes research and development, an activity that the government is willing to reward through incentives like R&D tax credits and Patent Box. It is important that companies who are eligible for these incentives have access to this funding so that they are better positioned to continue their work. We believe that as much as prices can be increased on plastics to deter use, innovation of new alternative materials and the adjusting of processes can make a massive difference. Speak to a member of our team to discuss your business and see if you are eligible to make a claim.

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