A move by Tesco to change the packaging of its own label hard cheeses will save 260 tonnes of plastic each year.
The saving has been made by switching from the traditional square block shape to oblong packaging and also by removing the current re-sealable zip, Tesco says.
New 400g pack sizes will replace 460g packs and both they and existing 220g packs will have the re-sealable zip removed. Nearly 40 lines of Tesco’s own brand territorial hard cheeses have been re-formatted in this way, it says.
The 260 tonne saving will also be achieved by Tesco ditching the plastic trays in which these cheeses are delivered, it says. They will now be sent in a new ‘cardboard shelf-ready format’.
The move comes in advance of the key festive shopping period – the busiest time of the year for cheese sales – and Tesco calculates it will save 11 tonnes in plastic in just two weeks before Christmas.
By changing the pack shape and also removing the re-sealable zip we will be able to reduce plastic packaging on our brand hard cheeses by up to 41% against the former product, depending on the size of the block
Tesco cheese buying manager Peter Wood said: “This is a revolutionary move for the UK cheese industry because the iconic square shaped cheese packs have been around for decades.
"By changing the pack shape and also removing the re-sealable zip we will be able to reduce plastic packaging on our brand hard cheeses by up to 41% against the former product, depending on the size of the block".
"Another benefit to customers is that these new chunkier pack sizes are easier to handle so cutting, grating and slicing will be simpler."
The move is part of the supermarket’s ongoing 4Rs (Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle) strategy set up to remove excess and non-recyclable material from its business and recycle the rest.
As a part of this work, Tesco has committed to remove a billion pieces of plastic by the end of 2020 – tinned multipacks, secondary lids and the small bags used to pack loose fruit and veg have all been removed.
The new pack sizes are currently being sent out to all of Tesco’s UK stores.