Tesco Urges Customers to Leave Packaging at the Store

Supermarket Encourages Shoppers to Leave Packaging Behind
Back in my early days of environmental awareness, it was a common form of protest to visit a grocery-store, pile your shopping cart high with goods, and then hold up the check-out lines as you unwrapped any item with excessive packaging - leaving the store to deal with the unwanted waste. Inconvenient? Yes. Irritating? Almost certainly. Effective? Who knows. But now UK supermarket giant Tesco, the same chain that is deploying electric vans, as well as solar roofs and carbon labelling, is actually asking shoppers to leave any excess packaging behind for recycling. It's all part of an aggressive push to reduce the company's environmental impact. The Guardian tells us more:

Alasdair James, Tesco's head of energy, waste and recycling, recently visited Germany. He said: "We know our customers expect us to help them recycle easily and we have also committed ourselves to cutting our own waste. This unique pilot helps us do both. Packaging left by customers at the store will tell us a lot about areas we may need to look at again, as well as where we have got it right."

Tesco has more than 3,500 recycling and reducing packaging projects. It stressed that for regulatory reasons or where labelling was essential - for instance in warning of products containing nuts - packaging might still be necessary.

The scheme is only temporary, and it is being tried out in select stores only - with the principal aim of obtaining customer feedback (and maybe some free publicity!). The chain already claims to be diverting as much as 87% of its own store waste from landfill, and has set a goal of 95% by the end of the year. Which all begs the question: what are young protesters supposed to do now? Given the scale of environmental challenges still facing our food and retail systems, I'm sure they'll think of something...

More on Tesco and Sustainability
Tesco Does Biggest Solar Roof and Carbon Labeling
Tesco Goes Green
Katharine Hamnett Pulls Out of Tesco
Record-Breaking CFL Sales from UK Retailer
Housing Employees on the Roofs of Tesco

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