UK retailer Tesco has teamed up with packaging firm Faerch for a closed-loop recycling solution to ensure that secondary packaging is recycled into primary packaging.
The initiative will see the recycling of secondary PET packaging, used to transport and hold products on store shelves, to new food contact primary packaging.
Until recently, PET shelf-ready packaging – widely used by UK supermarkets to transport products - was used once and downcycled into non-food applications, Tesco added.
‘Tray To Tray’ Initiative
The new ‘tray to tray’ initiative, Tesco’s secondary PET will be collected by Faerch and recycled to make new, food contact PET pots, tubs and trays.
William Guest, sustainable packaging manager at Tesco, said, “This collaboration with Faerch will ensure that each year 2,000 tonnes of PET is recycled to make new Tesco packaging that otherwise would have been downcycled into non-food applications.
“Wherever we can, we remove or reduce packaging, but where it is needed, we want to improve circularity to make our packaging as sustainable as possible. One way we can do that is by ensuring packaging that meets food contact requirements remains within the food packaging sector, being recycled back into food contact packaging.”
The retailer has pledged to switch to packaging with 30% rPET for its own-brand cut fruit, as well as select yoghurts and meat items.
Tesco will require its own brand and branded suppliers to use food contact approved PET for shelf-ready packaging to achieve this goal.
The recycling setup in Tesco stores helps to address the shortfall in the availability of recycled PET, the retailer added.
Mark Tollman, group strategic sales director of Faerch, commented, “This is a perfect example of how collaboration between packaging manufacturers, retailers and their suppliers can deliver lasting change and material circularity.
“The ‘tray to tray by Faerch’ project demonstrates that PET packaging can be recovered and recycled at an industrial level and made back into food-grade pots and trays.”