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Tesco is set to remove 350 tons of plastic from the environment every year – by ditching shrink-wrapped multipacks from its shelves.

The UK supermarket giant will remove the wrapping from its own brands, as well as a number of other major food manufacturers including Heinz and Green Giant among others.

The move has been praised by environmental campaigners – with Greenpeace saying it hopes other retailers will follow suit.

Plastic-wrapped

The move – which will apply to canned foods including soup, baked beans, and sweetcorn among others – will start rolling out in March 2020. It will result in 67 million pieces of plastic being removed from Tesco’s stores. “We are removing all unnecessary and non-recyclable plastic from Tesco,” Dave Lewis,” Tesco chief executive, said in a statement.

“As part of this work, removing plastic-wrapped multipacks from every Tesco store in the UK will cut 350 tons of plastic from the environment every year and customers will still benefit from the same great value ‘multipack’ price.”

Georgiana de Noronha, president of Kraft Heinz in Northern Europe, added: “While we know we have more to do, this initiative is good news for the environment, and for the millions of people who enjoy Heinz varieties every day, as they’ll still be able to benefit from the same great value for money our multipacks provide.”

‘Common sense first step’

The move has been welcomed by some environmental campaigners, with Fiona Nicholls, ocean plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, telling the BBC: “It’s great that Tesco are getting rid of multipack plastic packaging that’s completely pointless and are also pressuring their branded suppliers like Heinz and Branston to do the same.

“This is such an easy, common sense first step that all supermarkets should have done this long ago. We urge retailers to end the nonsense of double-plastic packaging on all products straight away, and be bolder by introducing reusable and refillable packaging.”

‘Fight for our world’

Environmental organization WWF also supports the move, with Paula Chin, sustainable materials specialist, saying: “WWF supports Tesco’s steps in the fight against plastic pollution. 

“We need to remove unnecessary single-use plastic wherever possible, to stop the contamination of the natural world. If we want to protect nature we need more businesses to follow Tesco’s lead, before we run out of time to fight for our world.”

Maria Chiorando

Maria is the editor of Plant Based News. As a former magazine editor, newspaper reporter, and features writer, her work has been published by The Guardian, The Huffington Post, and various regional newspapers, as well as Vegan Life magazine and Vegan Trade Journal. She has interviewed a huge range of people, from Prime Ministers to authors, activists, pop stars and actors, and enjoys the varied range of topics writing for PBN allows her to tackle.