Tesco Ireland has announced a new recycling system for soft plastics, and the company is collecting the material at dedicated points in its 151 stores.
Soft plastics, such as cling-wrap and outer wrapping from multipack bottles, are not recyclable through the national household recycling bin infrastructure in Ireland. This move by Tesco encourages shoppers to remove and deposit the unwanted plastic packaging after they have completed their purchase, and prevent it from entering landfill.
The new initiative is running in conjunction with Irish manufacturing company Paltech, which is using its patented technology to flake and prepare the plastic for processing into construction materials to be used elsewhere in the Tesco Ireland store network. It will be utilised for new stores, and in store maintenance and refits including buildings, car-park barriers and signage, in the near future.
Customers can also leave behind hard, recyclable plastic packaging, such as multi-pack fresh produce packaging, after they have completed their shopping. This material will be recycled as normal, according to Tesco.
Kari Daniels, CEO of Tesco Ireland, commented: “Tesco has been working hard for a long time to remove plastic from its business.
“Where we need packaging, because it serves a clear purpose like reducing food waste or to protect a product in transit, we do our best to ensure that what we do use is from sustainable sources and where possible, goes on to be reused or recycled.”
She added: “Our overall ambition is to only use plastic which serves a clear purpose. We are listening to our customers and working to make changes where we can. We know we have more to do, and today, we’re proud to be the first retailer to provide a recycling solution for soft plastics in Ireland.”
Adrian Doyle, research & development director at Paltech, remarked: “Paltech has developed a proprietary manufacturing solution, that can repurpose all types of post-consumer plastic packaging into products with a long lifespan, which can also be further recycled at their end of life.
“Paltech is looking forward to working with Tesco to extend the range of products that they can use throughout their store network to ensure that the closed loop system continues to operate for many years to come.”
Doyle added: “Our partnership with Tesco is an exciting step forward to support Ireland in reaching the EU recycling commitment of 55% of all packaging waste to be recycled by 2030.”
Paltech is based in Galway, and has a pilot plant in Nurney, Co Kildare that has developed a system through which mixed waste can be recycled. Using a process called ‘enclosed pressure moulding’, the company can flake and then mould waste plastic into heavy walled products such as poles, median motorway barriers and more.
[Image credit: Tesco Ireland]