In Brief

Tesco launches plastic-free trial for fruit and veg

The month-long trial will see loose apples and avocados appearing in Extra stores in Watford and Swindon

Tesco

Britain’s biggest retailer has launched a trial to remove the plastic packaging from its fresh fruit and vegetables in an attempt to cut down on packaging waste. 

The month-long pilot, which begins this week in two Tesco Extra stores based in Watford and Swindon, will see loose alternatives replace 45 plastic-packaged foods. These include apples, onions, mushrooms, peppers, bananas and avocados.

The move follows Tesco’s announcement last year that it would ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019 and make all packaging recyclable by 2025.

Supermarkets are responsible for more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging a year. As a result, consumers are becoming increasingly vocal in their calls for big retailers to help combat the plastic pollution crisis. As the UK's biggest retailer, Tesco hopes the move will be popular among customers, says The Guardian.

Scientists estimate there’s been a 30% drop in plastic bags found in waters around Britain since the 5p charge was introduced across Europe four years ago. 

But a Greenpeace survey of the top ten supermarkets found that the plastic problem was far from over. It said that on top of the known plastic footprint, 1.2 billion plastic produce bags a year were used for packaging fruits and vegetables alone.

Looking at each store’s contribution to the UK’s plastic waste problem combined with their efforts to combat it, Greenpeace ranked the ten supermarkets. When the survey was conducted last May, Tesco came in at number five.

Sarah Bradbury, Tesco’s director of quality, says the supermarket’s new fruit and veg packaging initiative, as well as its future efforts to reduce waste, are designed to “remove as much plastic as we can from our products, only using what is necessary to protect and preserve our food”.

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