Tesco becomes first supermarket to stock cans of water
In the latest move to cut back on the number of plastic products entering circulation, Tesco has become the first supermarket to stock and offer cans of water.
Available to purchase individually or as part of a £3 meal deal, the cans of water from the CanO Water brand, are now available at 700 Tesco stores in the UK.
“Aluminium cans have the highest recycling rate of any product out there and a recycled can could be back on the shelf as another one in just 60 days,” CanO Water’s co-founder, Ariel Booker, said.
Two large UK food and drink wholesalers, Bidfood and Brakes will also supply CanO Water, after responses from retailers and customers highlighted the demand for alternatives to plastic bottles.
Tesco has committed to removing all packaging which is ‘hard to recycle’ from the chain’s own-brand products by the end of 2019. The supermarket chain’s Little Helps plan includes packaging targets of halving packaging by weight against a 2007 baseline by 2025 and has reduced packaging by weight by 37% since 2007 – the baseline for the target.
Other targets include making all packaging compostable or recyclable and ensuring all paper and card is sustainably sourced.
Whereas much of the plastics debate has focused on marketing biodegradable or compostable materials, Tesco has become the first supermarket to offer canned water.
Can do attitude
The recycling rate for aluminium drink cans continues to increase year on year, hitting 72% in 2017 (up from 70% in 2016). The material is also constantly recycled, with almost 75% of all aluminium ever produced still in circulation today.
In fact, a report from the non-for-profit organisation Alupro claims that the UK will be able to achieve an 85% recycling rate for aluminium cans by 2020 and 90% by 2030, based on existing infrastructure and collection systems.
Recent Defra statistics found that, for all packaging waste, recycling levels are up from 64.1% in 2014 to 71.4% in 2016. But this is still lower than 2013 when recycling levels reached 72.7%. Worryingly, the amount of recyclable packaging waste ending up in landfill or destroyed has increased by 15.7% compared to 2013 – an extra 446,000 tonnes.
Plastic and wood remain the two least recycled packaging materials, at 44.9% and 30.9% respectively. These figures have deviated little from the previously recorded year (2014) where rates sat at 37.9% and 31.4%. Globally, 43% of plastic bottles are recycled.
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What are the carbon implications of producing and recycling cans instead of plastic bottles? Water bottles made of PET are actually quite easy to recycle.