The boss of Tesco has warned big brands that they could be banned from the supermarket’s shelves if they fail to eliminate the use of excessive plastic.
Dave Lewis, the chief executive of Tesco, said the retailer would “reserve the right not to list” products with too much non-recyclable packaging as it steps up its efforts in the war against single-use plastic.
Tesco will assess the size and suitability of all packing from suppliers and could choose not stock products with “excessive or inappropriate packaging”, Mr Lewis said in a letter published by The Guardian.
He said the need to improve packaging is “urgent” and “something everyone involved in the consumer goods industry must tackle”.
Mr Lewis said: “We can’t overlook the fact that for too long, packaging on consumer goods has been excessive.
Over the next year we will remove millions of pieces of plastic from sale as we change our packaging. We have a crucial role to play in reducing plastic and preventing it from ending up in our oceans. Please click below to hear more.
— Tesco News (@tesconews) June 25, 2019
“We have all looked at the settled contents of a cereal packet and puzzled over the comparative size of the bag and box. Or opened a bag of crisps and wondered why the packaging is twice the size of the contents.”
The statement of intent comes as Tesco moves into the next stage in its programme to tackle the excessive use of single-use plastics.
Tesco gave suppliers a list of preferred materials in May 2018 but is now stepping up its efforts as consumer awareness over the environmental harm of packaging continues to swell.
The UK’s largest supermarket said that it has changed the packaging of 800 Tesco own-brand products over the past year.
It said its plans have already seen Tesco remove 4,000 tonnes of hard-to-recycle packaging, as it looks to eliminate its use of these plastics by the end of 2019.
Mr Lewis said the removal of multi-pack packaging on tinned products could alone save 490 tonnes of plastic.
This month, Tesco also scrapped the use of plastic bags with home delivery orders, which is said will remove 250 million bags each year.