Tesco has announced an industry first partnership which will see an important change to the way food is packed in UK stores.

Britain’s biggest grocer, alongside Faerch, has developed a closed loop recycling solution to make the way food is packaged is more sustainable.

The move will mean the secondary plastic packaging used to transport and hold products on Tesco shelves is retained by the food packaging industry and recycled back into new food contact primary packaging.

Until recently, PET shelf ready packaging – widely used by UK supermarkets to transport products - was used once and downcycled into non-food applications.

Tesco’s ‘tray to tray’ initiative’

As part of Tesco’s ‘tray to tray’ initiative all own brand cut fruit, selected yoghurts and meat will be guaranteed to contain 30% rPET that originated in Tesco stores.

To achieve this, Tesco will require all its own brand and branded suppliers to use food contact approved PET for shelf ready packaging.

The move will see 2000 tonnes of plastic recycled into new food-grade packaging each year.

Tesco issue statement on important change to packaging

William Guest, Sustainable Packaging Manager at Tesco said: “Wherever we can, we remove or reduce packaging but where it is needed we want to improve circularity to make our packaging as sustainable as possible.

“One way we can do that is by ensuring packaging that meets food contact requirements remains within the food packaging sector, being recycled back into food contact packaging.”

He added: “This collaboration with Faerch will ensure that each year 2,000 tonnes of PET is recycled to make new Tesco packaging that otherwise would have been downcycled into non-food applications.”