Retailer Marks & Spencer has launched a new initiative that will allow customers to bring back non-recyclable plastic packaging in an effort to prevent plastic waste ending up in landfill.
Customers can drop various plastic packaging in M&S’s new recycling bins, including black ready meal trays, crisp packets, sauce sachets and certain cosmetic containers.
The retailer has pledged to recycle the collected plastic into store fittings, furniture and playground equipment for schools.
Currently, the scheme has launched in food and beauty halls at M&S Tolworth, Cribbs Causeway, Westfield Stratford, Waterside, Loughton, Bluewater, Fosse Park and Peterborough.
The bins will be rolled-out to M&S stores nationwide by the end of 2019 and will be made from the recycled plastic collected through the first eight shops.
It is also introducing recycling collection points to primary schools across the country in collaboration with waste education social enterprise, Wastebuster, where pupils will be taught about the importance of recycling and reducing plastic waste.
M&S senior packaging technologist Laura Fernandez said: “As a business, we’re committed to reducing the amount of plastic we use, and we have already started phasing out non-recyclable packaging from our products. As we continue to work towards our plastic reduction goals, we want to go a step further and help our customers and the next generation to have a real impact on the environment.
“Customers often don’t know how best to recycle certain types of plastic or where it goes after being collected by local councils. We’re on a mission to provide a greater awareness of landfill avoidance and plastic recyclability, while ultimately helping our customers to give plastic a new purpose and support a truly circular economy.”
It has partnered with plastics technology firm Dow to support the scheme and allow the retailer to give the collected plastics a new life.