Tesco to trial plastic-to-oil innovation which makes all packaging 'recyclable'

Supermarket giant Tesco has inked a deal with Swindon-based recycling firm Recycling Technologies, which will see the retailer trial an innovative system that converts soft plastics back into oil.

Waste streams for recycling will be collected from 10 stores across Swindon and Bristol

Under the partnership, Tesco will encourage consumers to bring items which are often not collected in kerbside schemes by local authorities – including pet food pouches, carrier bags and crisp packets – to collection points across 10 of its stores across Swindon and Bristol.

The collected material will then be sent to Recycling Technologies, where it will be fed through the company’s RT7000 machines. The device heats fossil fuel-based plastic until its long-chain molecules crack into short-chain hydrocarbons, which are then treated to separate vapour and solids and to remove chemical contamination. The vapour is then cooled to produce the same solid oil material, called Plaxx, which can be incorporated into new plastic products.

Tesco is the first UK supermarket to trial the technology, and is doing so as it strives to meet its UK Plastics Pact commitment of making all its plastic packaging 100% recyclable, reusable or biodegradable by 2025. If the trial is successful, Tesco may choose to roll out collection points across more of its UK retail estate.

“Reducing and recycling plastics is such an important issue for us