Tesco launches recycling super-unit

A new breed of high tech recycling units that could attract more people to get actively involved with the UK's recycling effort are being trialled by supermarket chain Tesco.

In a bid to give the recycling industry a twenty-first century facelift, Secretary of State for Environment, Margaret Beckett, unveiled the first of the high tech recycling facilities to be installed at one of the supermarkets.

Built by Norwegian specialists, the new improved units promise to be much cleaner and more efficient than those currently in use.

The facility uses space technology, including infrared spectroscopes and a real time camera, to scan and sort the plastic, glass and aluminium. It then crushes them to maximise use of space.

Director of corporate responsibility at Tesco, David North, told edie that customers had confirmed they were keen to recycle more, and this machine would make it even easier for those that did not currently have a local kerbside collection service, encouraging more people to join the UK’s recycling effort.

“By listening to our customers and responding to their desire to do more, we’re set to provide a huge boost to the environment,” he said. “Together with our recycling initiatives for carrier bags, mobile phones, printer cartridges and Christmas cards, this machine makes Tesco a one-stop recycling centre.”

The high tech unit will be on trial at Tesco’s Winchester store and, if it receives positive customer feedback, will then be installed at supermarkets all across the country.

Ms Beckett said she also hoped that the new facilities would attract people that did not normally recycle and welcomed Tesco’s move.

“I am delighted to see retailers using their unique position to help encourage their customers to recycle,” she stated. “With nine out of ten people saying they would recycle if it was easier to do so, the new facility will hopefully attract a new generation of recyclers and encourage those who already do to recycle more.”

Between 1996/1997 and 2002/2003, recycling in England has almost doubled and is currently at around 14.5%. The Government has predicted that the 2003/4 national target of recycling and composting 17% of total household waste will be met.

This would be the first time that such a target will ever have been achieved.

By Jane Kettle

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