As part of the initiative, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) trays recovered from customers through European kerbside waste will be recycled and converted back into food-grade plastic trays
British supermarket chain Tesco and packaging manufacturer Faerch Group have partnered to start a tray-to-tray initiative to recycle used plastic food trays back into the packaging and create a circular economy for its core chilled ready meals range.
As part of the initiative, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) trays recovered from customers through European kerbside waste will be recycled and converted back into food-grade plastic trays.
Currently, Tesco’s ready meal trays contain up to 75% recycled content, which comes mostly from cleaner and easier-to-recycle bottle flake plastic.
The initiative aims to include a minimum of 30% of recycled tray content included in the new core chilled ready meals trays.
The British supermarket chain said that the new trays will be launched in phases in April across its core own brand chilled ready meals.
The rollout is anticipated to be completed by the end of summer 2023.
Tesco packaging development manager Adele Kearns said: “We are determined to close the loop on our packaging – for it to be fully recyclable and contain recycled content wherever possible.
“We remain committed to reducing our environmental impact, and helping our customers to do the same, as we work together to protect our planet.”
The partnership aims to keep the food-grade PET within the supply chain, rather than being downcycled. It also intends to show that PET packaging from trays can be fully recycled and recovered at an industrial scale.
Faerch UK strategic sales manager Ruth Price said: “Our collaboration with Tesco is the perfect example of how material from EU waste resources can be diverted into a valuable commodity.
“Moving forward, our intention is to not only increase the level of tray-to-tray content but to also start taking this from local UK feedstocks.”
Faerch has a PET tray recycling plant, Cirrec. It collects used post-consumer food trays and converts them back into new food trays with the same quality in an unlimited number of cycles.