BHETA Hosts Packaging Insights from Tesco

Paul Earnshaw, Tesco PLC’s senior packaging manager delivered an enlightening presentation to BHETA members covering not only the retailer’s own approach to sustainable packaging, but the thinking behind it.  He also invited attendees to consult with him on the latest scientific conclusions in relation to plastics, paper, cardboard, glass, metal, and other materials which are or have been in common use.

In essence the Tesco strategy can be summed up as ‘the four R’s’ – remove packaging where possible, reduce it where impossible to remove entirely, reuse more, and recycle what is left.  All packaging materials used by Tesco and its suppliers have been categorised as red, amber or green according to their sustainability or otherwise and Paul set out the targets and timelines now being used across all Tesco categories.  The plan is to remove ‘reds’ from use, control the use of ‘ambers’ and give preference to the use of ‘greens’.

In addition to setting out Tesco’s policy on packaging, Paul also set out the latest thinking in terms of sustainability for all types of packaging materials; and for the designs and formats of packaging, stressing the need for ‘designing for recyclability’.  The presentation included many insights into recyclingtechniques and processes showing their impact and limitations on the afterlife of different kinds of packaging.

Will Jones, Chief Operating Officer at BHETA commented, “This was a hugely informative event, not least because in addition to setting out Tesco’s guidelines with great clarity, it also set out the reasons why packaging is at the forefront of the sustainability debate.  There are many changes already happening and still to come in terms of how products are packaged for sale and for transportation, and some of the choices are challenging, so Paul’s knowledge and insights were extremely useful.”

BHETA has followed up on this event with a member survey on the issues around packaging and typically the sources of information available.  As a result, it will be holding further advisory sessions covering not only compliance, but all the practicalities inherent in the subject.  For more information about future BHETA events and its networking and business support services in general, contact Member Services Manager, Nicola Adams on or 07946 078566.

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