Tesco and Faerch Group in customer-recovered PET initiative
Tesco has begun recycling used plastic food trays back into packaging.
In a development the retailer is calling an industry first, it will create a fully circular packaging loop for Teco’s range of core chilled ready meals.
The change is in collaboration with leading packaging manufacturer Faerch, and will see customer-recovered PET trays – collected via European kerbside waste – recycled and converted back into food grade plastic trays.
Tesco’s ready meal trays already contain up to 75% recycled content, predominantly from cleaner and easier to recycle bottle flake plastic. Through the new Tray 2 Tray by Faerch programme, a minimum of 30% recycled tray content will be included in the new core chilled ready meals trays.
A phased rollout of the new trays is taking place currently across Tesco’s core own brand chilled ready meals.
The collaboration will ensure that high quality food-grade PET is kept within the supply chain, rather than being downcycled, and demonstrates that PET packaging from trays can be fully recovered and recycled at an industrial scale.
Adele Kearns, packaging development manager at Tesco, said the supermarket chain is determined to close the loop on its packaging – “for it to be fully recyclable and contain recycled content wherever possible”
In expressing her delight at the launch of the Tray 2 Tray by Faerch programme with Tesco, Ruth Price, strategic sales manager at Faerch UK, described it as an “essential” initiative that promotes circular food packaging in the economy.
Price added: “We are committed to working with our customers to keep rigid food packaging in the economy and out of the environment. 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.”
Tesco also works alongside suppliers to drive change across products – eliminating all hard-to-recycle material from UK packaging in 2019 – and supports industry action including the UK Plastics Pact, which tackles the impact of plastic waste.