UK retailer launches 60,000t food packaging recycling plan

By Mike Stones

- Last updated on GMT

Related tags Recycling

Leading UK retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has pledged to form partnerships with four local authorities to improve kerbside recycling with the aim of collecting an additional 60,000t of recyclable material from six million people every year within five years.

A company spokesman told “This is a highly significant development for us because it will deliver closed loop recycling where every year about 15,000t of packaging waste will be diverted back into food packaging and reused by M&S. The remaining 45,000 tonnes will be sold to other packaging producers​.”

The partnerships will allow consumers to offer more materials, such as plastic food and drink packaging and metal trays, for kerbside collection.

Local authorities will be able to boost recycling capacity and traceability to ensure recycling takes place locally.

Waste Partnership

For M&S, the project will ensure access to recycled material for use in packaging at least matching the 60,000t of food packaging generated by the company each year.

In the first partnership with Somerset County Council, M&S has promised to will invest £1.25m over five years in the council’s Waste Partnership. That will enable the council to add plastics and cardboard to the materials it collects from homes across its five district councils.

Three other similar partnerships will be announced later this year, added the spokesman.

He confirmed that the retailer was in advanced discussions with Kent Waste Partnership but could not confirm the identities of the other two county councils.

Dr Helene Roberts, M&S head of packaging, said: “This is a pioneering project that we believe will change the face of recycling in the UK. Since the launch of Plan A in 2007……..we’ve achieved a 16 per cent reduction in food packaging and over 90% is now recyclable.

“In order that we move to the next level, which is making more of our packaging with recycled content, we need more materials at a higher quality collected at the kerbside and made available to our suppliers​.”

Work collectively

Dan Norris, minister for Rural Affairs and Environment, also welcomed the project: “I congratulate Marks & Spencer and their partners on taking this innovative step – and putting producer responsibility into direct action. Improvements in the management of packaging waste will require all parts of the chain to work collectively. This will help us achieve the important aims of the Packaging Strategy.”

Cllr. Derek Yeomans, chair of Somerset Waste Partnership, added: “It’s a very significant step forward for the UK recycling industry… This cross-sector co-operation will foster substantial service improvements for local people, and reduce the environmental impact of both local household waste and high street packaging​.”

Related topics Processing & packaging

Related news

Follow us


View more