Tesco teams up with Heinz to scrap plastic packaging on tin multipacks

Tesco has announced plans to scrap all tin multipacks housed in plastic shrinkwrap, in a move that will mitigate the use of 67 million pieces of plastic annually.

Tesco currently sells 183,000 tin multipacks daily, most of which are housed in plastic shrinkwrap

Tesco currently sells 183,000 tin multipacks daily, most of which are housed in plastic shrinkwrap

The supermarket will replace all of its own-brand multipacks, and Heinz brand multipacks sold in store, with loose tins. When multiple tins are scanned at the checkout, the customer will be given a multibuy discount, equivalent to that offered by previous multipacks.

Customers will first notice the new format from 2 March, when the first loose multibuy tins will be rolled out. In order to minimise waste, Tesco will sell through all existing tin multipacks housed in plastic – but once they run out, the retailer has vowed not to order more.

The move follows successful trials of the plastic-free format at Tesco’s Bar Hill Extra store, implemented after a team of 25 employees on the retailer’s graduate scheme put forward the suggestion. In order to scale the format up, Tesco collaborated with Kraft Heinz in order to shift away from sourcing plastic-wrapped multipacks of lines such as Heinz Beanz, soups and pasta.

Tesco’s chief executive Dave Lewis said the move marks a step towards the supermarket’s ambition to remove all unnecessary and non-recyclable plastics from its stores. Plastic shrinkwrap is notably not collected for recycling by local authorities in the UK, due to a lack of infrastructure to process it.

Lewis emphasised the fact that Tesco sells 183,000 tin multipacks every day, with four in ten shopping baskets containing one or more.

The move comes after Waitrose & Partners removed plastic shrinkwrap from several of its most popular tin multipacks, in response to shoppers calling the packaging “unnecessary”.

Plastics plan

Tesco’s Lewis made headlines last year after warning all of the supermarket’s suppliers that their contracts could be terminated if they used “excessive” plastic packaging or hard-to-recycle formats.

The call to action comes as Tesco is striving to remove one billion pieces of plastic from products sold in UK stores by the end of 2020. Ongoing phase-outs include plastic sleeves on greetings cards, plastic packaging on clothing and straws. On the latter, the UK Government’s ban on plastic straw distribution is due to come into force this April.

In order to reach this target, and its commitments for 2025 under WRAP’s UK Plastics Pact, Tesco is following a ‘4 Rs’ plastics packaging strategy. The strategy name stands for ‘remove, reduce, reuse, recycle’.

In a move which covers the first three pillars, Tesco is set to launch TerraCycle’s Loop platform in the UK this year, following successful roll-outs in the US and France. The platform enables businesses to provide product refills to consumers while retaining ownership of their reusable packaging in place of single-use plastics.

On the recycling piece, Tesco is working with rival supermarkets to uncover a solution for hard-to-recycle black plastic that places recycled content into food-grade packaging. It has also invested in Swindon-based recycling firm Recycling Technologies, which is developing an innovative system that converts soft plastics back into oil.

Sarah George



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