UK – British multinational groceries and general merchandise retailer, Tesco has announced plans to use plastic waste collected from coastal areas in its fresh fish packaging.

The retailer claims that the move will prevent as much as 500 tonnes of discarded plastic from entering the oceans.

The supermarket’s salmon, haddock, cod, and sea bass lines are set to be sold in trays containing at least 30% recycled coastal plastic collected from beaches, coastlines, and coastal communities within 10km of the Mediterranean Sea.

This is hoped to facilitate the reduction of virgin plastics in both the packaging itself and at-risk environments near the ocean.

Sarah Bradbury, quality director at Tesco noted: “Where we can, we are reducing the amount of new plastic we use in our business.

“Re-using coastal plastic in our fish packaging is one way we can do that and at the same time keep it out of the oceans.”

The supermarket is working with the sustainability organization Keep Sea Blue to collect and recycle plastic waste, which will include litter such as drinks bottles which are at risk of getting into the sea.

Lefteris Bastakis, the founder of Keep Sea Blue, added: “Mismanaged plastic waste can only be solved by many partners working together.

“We are glad that Tesco is making a meaningful and active contribution to this program towards protecting the Mediterranean Sea from plastic pollution and building a more sustainable future.” 

A network of collectors across the region – including local authorities, non-profits, volunteer groups, and the private sector – will apparently collect the plastic, at which point the PET packaging will be sorted, grinded, washed, and recycled to be utilized in food-grade packaging materials.

Keep Sea Blue plans to ensure full traceability by monitoring and certifying the circularity of the plastics via its Blockchain Platform, powered by Oracle Blockchain technology.

This is the latest sustainability push from Tesco, which recently launched plant-based tea bags to allow shoppers to compost these items through kerbside food waste collections.

To overcome any recycling confusion, the retailer said it will clearly label information on the correct way to compost tea bags in a food waste caddy across its newly designed packets of tea.

The new labeling will state: “We now make our tea bags out of plant-based material. Once used put your tea bag into your food waste bin. Our tea bags biodegrade into compost.”

This comes as a YouGov survey commissioned by Tesco found that shoppers are split on what to do with their used tea bags, with millions disposed of incorrectly.

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