Tesco Trials Laser-Etched Labels to Reduce Plastic Waste

Tesco, one of the UK’s largest supermarket chains, is taking a significant step toward reducing plastic waste by trialling the use of laser-etched labels on its extra-large avocado range. 

This innovative approach, aimed at minimising environmental impact, involves using high-powered lasers to remove a tiny section of the top layer of the fruit’s skin, creating a clear and lasting label. 

According to supplier Westfalia Fruit, this process, which takes less than a third of a second, is ideal for avocados due to their thick outer skin.

The new laser-etching method is being tested in approximately 270 Tesco stores across the south-east of England. If successful, the initiative could be rolled out nationwide, replacing millions of plastic stickers and tray packaging. 

Furthermore, this trial is part of Tesco’s broader commitment to finding innovative ways to reduce plastic waste in their product packaging and environmental footprint.

Westfalia Fruit assures that the laser-etching process has no negative impact on the quality, shelf life, or taste of the avocados. The etched labels provide a visual impact and eliminate the need for traditional barcode stickers, which are often overlooked and not removed during household recycling. 

Additionally, the process is efficient, taking less than a third of a second to complete for each avocado, ensuring that production speed is not compromised.

In addition to laser-etched labels, Tesco is experimenting with replacing the plastic tray packaging for two of its popular avocado lines with recyclable cardboard containers. This shift could save over 20 million pieces of plastic tray packaging for twin-pack avocados alone, and up to 25 million pieces across the entire pre-packed avocado range. 

Furthermore, nearly a million plastic stickers could be eliminated from loose extra-large avocados based on current sales data.

Tesco’s avocado buyer expressed enthusiasm about the trial, stating that they are always seeking new ways to reduce the environmental impact of their products and cut down on plastic waste in consumers’ homes. 

They are keen to receive customer feedback on the laser-etched avocados, which they believe will provide a more sustainable option without compromising convenience or quality. 

What’s more, the laser-etched labels also have the added benefit of ensuring that the necessary information about the product is retained even after purchase, reducing confusion for consumers.

Westfalia Fruit’s general manager highlighted the company’s dedication to reducing and eliminating plastic from their packaging. They emphasised that a united effort within the industry is crucial to significantly reducing waste, using natural resources responsibly, and protecting the environment and biodiversity for future generations. 

The general manager also noted that the company is exploring additional sustainable packaging solutions and methods to further reduce their environmental footprint, including collaborations with other retailers and industry leaders.

In conclusion, Tesco’s trial of laser-etched labels and recyclable packaging for avocados represents a forward-thinking approach to reducing plastic waste. 

If successful, this initiative could lead to substantial environmental benefits, demonstrating Tesco’s commitment to sustainability and innovation in the retail sector. 

The trial not only aims to meet consumer demand for more eco-friendly products but also sets a precedent for other retailers to follow, contributing to a broader effort to address the global challenge of plastic pollution.

News Credits: Laser-etched labels trialled on Tesco avocado range

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