Tesco Ireland Unveils Home-Recyclable Potato Packaging
27 May 2021
Ireland’s first fully recyclable packaging trial for new season potatoes
Tesco has become the first retailer in Ireland to make its packaging for 1kg new season potatoes fully recyclable while also reducing the amount of paper used in its 2.5kg potato packaging.
This step change on packaging will commence on a 12-week trial basis in 100 stores, with plans to roll out the changes to more products if successful. As one of Ireland’s favourite grocery items this change will have a significant impact on reducing plastic waste.
The new paper bags will carry the green ‘widely recycled’ logo and can be recycled at home using the kerbside collection infrastructure. The new single ply paper bag is responsibly sourced from Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) accredited material and replaces the existing plastic 1kg bags. Plastic components of the 2.5kg potato paper bag, which contained a non-recyclable net window, will be removed and will be fully recyclable.
The packaging change will initially cover Tesco’s range of ‘New Season Early Potatoes’. The move will also reduce the amount of paper used in Tesco’s 2.5kg new season potatoes bag by 30% and remove almost 50,000 non-recyclable 1kg new season plastic bags from the waste system annually.
Over the course of the trial, over 130,000 packs of Irish grown new season early Premier and Queens potatoes are expected to be sold across Ireland in the new packaging.
Joe Manning, Commercial Director, Tesco Ireland, said he was pleased that Tesco is again leading the way in removing excess and non-recyclable material from its business as part of its ongoing 4Rs (Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) strategy, which includes plans to make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025.
“Working with our partners at Country Crest, this change to our potato packaging means that customers can enjoy the best of new season Irish grown Tesco potatoes even more as the packaging will be fully recyclable through the at-home recycling infrastructure.”
“We aspire to use as little packaging as possible. Where we can’t remove packaging, we aim to reduce it to an absolute minimum, and we do so with recyclability in mind. As part of this work, we also recently became the first retailer in Ireland to create a recycling solution for soft plastics where we have in-store collection points in each of our 151 stores,” he concluded.
Denise Foley, national account manager, Country Crest, who have grown and supplied potatoes and onions to Tesco for over 20 years, takes its sustainability role very seriously and is happy to be contributing further to Ireland’s sustainability goals:
“This environmental breakthrough has made the launch of our new season early premier potatoes even more special. Grown in glasshouses in North County Dublin by two of our growers, Matt Thorne and Willie Rogan, who specialise in early varieties, this new packaging makes the Tesco potatoes the ideal choice for a family and for the environment. Our growers’ expertise in early varieties means the very best quality potatoes make it to Tesco and onwards to your plate.”
“We are hopeful that a successful trial will lead to further reductions of plastic packaging on Tesco own-label potatoes over the coming months.”
Notes to Editors
50,000 plastic bag removal based off average sales figure projections for 1 kilo bag product.
Tesco’s ambition is to ensure all packaging on own-label products will be fully recyclable by 2025.
Tesco is working hard to remove plastics from its business, where it doesn’t serve a clear purpose. 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 recycled or reuse.. To date, the company has removed:
- 5 million pieces of plastic shrouds from multipack canned goods
- 359 tonnes of PVC and 40 tonnes of Polystyrene materials from product packaging
- 550 tonnes of plastic have been replaced with detectable and recyclable plastic on meat and produce
In 2020, the Tesco Ireland business changed its waste processes at store level, backhauling food waste for anaerobic digestion at Green Generation creating renewable gas which the business purchases to power six of its stores.
About Tesco Ireland
- Support for Irish suppliers and communities has been a central tenet of the Tesco business since it entered the Irish retail market almost 25 years ago.
- All Tesco own-brand fresh beef, pork, chicken, lamb and eggs are Irish and sourced from Bord-Bia approved farms. All Tesco fresh milk is sourced from Irish Bord Bia approved farms, while Tesco organic milk is sourced from Northern Ireland and Irish farms.
- In recognition of the unique challenges faced by small food and drink suppliers during the COVID-19 pandemic, Tesco has continued to speed up payment of invoices from the usual 14-day period to 5 days to help particularly smaller companies to increase their cashflow, until February 2022.
- Tesco buys €1.6 billion of Irish food and drink annually, more than the value of Irish food and drink exported to any country in the European Union. This includes over €900 million in exports.
- Tesco partners with 490 Irish suppliers, supporting almost 14,000 farming families nationwide.
- The Tesco Community Fund has donated over €5 million to more than 20,000 community groups since 2014.
- Its partnership with FoodCloud with whom it was the first retailer to partner, has delivered over 13 million meals to more than 380 local charitable groups nationwide, saving the charitable sector an estimated value of €16 million and equal to approximately 17,900 tonnes of CO2-eq avoided.
- Through its Charity Partnership with CHI at Temple Street, Tesco colleagues and customers have also raised over €6 million, which has been used to purchase approximately 270 pieces of medical equipment for the children’s hospital.