29 November 2004

Tesco could reward public for recycling their packaging

Retail giant Tesco is set to open a unique recycling complex at its Winchester store in Hampshire which is likely to reward the public for recycling plastics, cans and glass.

Tesco nationally accounts for some 13% of local authority bring bank recycling and the company is now introducing a Tomra system from Norway, which features high compaction levels for materials. It will handle mixed plastic bottles, cans and glass.

Tomra's system could reward shoppers for recycling

The complex, due to open next week, has been welcomed by Winchester city council with recycling client services manager David Boardman praising the innovative approach by Tesco at the site.

The system will see the installation of a centre for the collection of post consumer beverage containers replacing an existing traditional site. Tomra has been in this market since 1972 and has installed 49,000 machines worldwide, with many of these in Germany.

Tomra considers that its approach brings a number of advantages in that it ensures “pure material fractions” and the material is compacted well at the site with a consequent reduction in transport costs.

Tomra vice president Fredrik Witte said that “a collection centre, for example can compact at a ratio of up to 15:1. The collection capacity of the centre equals 45 regular bottle bank igloos.” Mr Witte has also said that after the UK “pilot roll out in the last quarter of 2004” he expected this “to trigger a large scale roll out in 2005/06.”

It is expected that the public may receive Tesco clubcard points as a reward for recycling or vouchers. Full details are to be released next week.

Severnside Recycling will still supply paper recycling containers for Tesco's Winchester site but it is uncertain whether there will be provision for textiles.

Winchester city council has maintained the site in the past but once the Tomra equipment is up and running, control will pass to Tesco, confirmed Mr Boardman.

It is not clear yet whether the Tesco material will be included in the city council’s figures and the authority is likely to lose some recycling credits. Mr Boardman said: “I intend to seek information in due course about this and we will need clarification from Defra.”

However he said that the scheme was to be welcomed. “The key is issue is that it is reducing material from going to landfill. Does it matter if it is the local authority or the retailer involved? I welcome this state of the art facility that will encourage people to recycle more.”

Winchester itself has recently started an alternate weekly collection service for residual waste and recyclables in part of the city. Residents also receive one free sack for a fortnightly collection of green waste with an additional sack costing 25 and a second sack a punitive 50. Mr Boardman noted that while the authority sought to collect some green waste, it was very supportive of home composting.

With the new scheme the authority hopes to move swiftly on from its current 17% recycling level to meet its 36% targets in 2006 although full council go-ahead to expand the scheme is still awaited.


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