Tesco is introducing carrier bags made from recycled plastic waste across its international store estate in its latest sustainability drive.
Tesco is rolling out the new sustainably sourced plastic bags to around 600 of its stores across Hungary, Slovakia and the Czech Republic.
Its new bags were made with 150 tonnes of plastic waste, 20 per cent of which comes from its own operations, and are expected to reduce single-use plastic bag sales in the region by 22 million each year.
It is understood that Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket, chose to launch the scheme in these Eastern European markets due to their high rates of single-use plastic usage.
The Czech Republic has one of the highest rates of microtene bag use in the EU, while the majority of Hungary’s plastic packaging is made from PET bottles and plastic bags.
It forms part of Tesco’s ongoing 4Rs strategy – Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle – set up to remove excess and non-recyclable material from its business and recycle the rest.
While its not yet clear if this initiative will be expanded to the UK, the retailer has already launched a number of initiatives which have seen it dramatically reduce single-use plastic usage.
In May this year, Tesco announced it would become the first major retailer to scrap soft plastic rings and shrink wrap packaging from all beers and ciders across its UK stores in a move expected to lead to 50 million fewer pieces of unrecycled plastic being produced each year.
A month earlier it announced that it will no longer provide tray liners or non-essential plastic bags with online orders from April 19.