British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer Tesco has announced its plans to stop using plastic carrier bags to deliver online groceries as part of its sustainability efforts.
The decision, which is effective from August 2019, follows completion of 28 weeks of trials involving 33 stores in a bid to use less plastic.
Tesco expects the carrier bag-free deliveries decision would result in deliveries of 250 million fewer carrier bags to customers’ homes annually while nearly 2,000 tonnes of plastic to come out of production per year.
Tesco quality director Sarah Bradbury said: “We’re looking for ways to reduce the amount of plastic we use.
“Removing carrier bags from our online shopping is one of the many ways we are making changes to help customers reduce their use of plastic.
“Right now, we’re reviewing all our packaging, including plastic, looking to remove where possible. Where it’s not right to remove we will reduce, help customers reuse and ensure all packaging can be recycled. Our scale means a simple, straightforward change can have such a big impact.”
However, as a replacement, the firm intends to offer customers their ordered groceries in reusable trays straight into their kitchens.
Commenting on the Tesco’s decision, independent conservation organisation WWF UK sustainable materials specialist Paula Chin said: “Plastic pollution is the most visible example of the environmental crisis we are currently facing and we fully support Tesco’s move to reduce the amount of single use plastic going out to its customers.
“With 90% of the world’s sea birds having been found with fragments of plastic in their stomachs, we all need to do our bit to fight plastic pollution, by embracing reusable items and reducing the plastic that we use.
“However, it’s also vital that businesses and government play that part too, which is why it’s great to see Tesco supporting customers to recycle more effectively through closed loop collection systems such as the in-store soft film collection trials.”
Tesco’s efforts to reduce the use of plastic forms part of its wider ambition to achieve closed-loop packaging system where the packaging is used, re-used, collected and recycled continuously.
By the end of 2019, Tesco aims to remove the hardest to recycle materials from its own-brand packaging.