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Tesco to remove a billion pieces of plastic

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Nearly half of supermarket packing is not easily recyclable

Tesco has pledged to remove one billion plastic packaging products from its UK stores by the end of next year.

Paper bags will replace plastic bags for packing fruits, vegetables and bakery products.

Plastic trays will be removed from ready meals; secondary covers will be removed from products such as yoghurt and cream; plastic cutlery, straws in beverage boxes and 200 million wrappers in clothing and cards will also be removed.

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Tesco CEO Dave Lewis says supermarket wants to make a difference

In August, Tesco told 1,500 suppliers that packaging will be part of its criteria in selecting stocking products.

It also warned them that it might refuse to stock up on items that use excessive or difficult to recycle materials.

Tesco, Britain's largest retailer, says it is trying to reduce its environmental impact and meet growing consumer demand for less waste.

Chief Executive Dave Lewis said: "By focusing on solutions that we can apply across our UK stores and supply chain, we can make a significant difference and achieve real scale in our efforts to combat plastic."

WWF Sustainable Materials specialist Paula Chin said: "Companies, governments and families have an important role to play, so it's good to see Tesco's commitment to significantly reduce the amount of plastic we use."

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Louise Edge, head of Greenpeace's UK ocean plastics campaign, said: "Last year Tesco produced over 18 billion pieces of plastic, so they still have a lot of work to do, but this is a good start and look forward to seeing further reductions when you introduce your reusable packaging scheme for online ordering in the new year. "

Tesco has 3,787 stores in Great Britain and Ireland, employing 340,000 people.

The announcement marks the latest move by British supermarket giants to tackle the growing packaging waste problem that could end up in the world's oceans.

More than eight million tons of plastic is thrown away each year and taken to sea.

During the centuries needed to break, it can be eaten by marine animals and can also enter the food chain with almost unknown effects on our health.

In September, Sainsbury & # 39; s promised to halve the amount of plastic used in its stores by 2025.

Sky's ocean rescue campaign encourages people to reduce their single-use plastics. You can find out more about the campaign and how to get involved at www.skyoceanrescue.com

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