Tesco Ireland to Launch Fully Recyclable Black Plastic Range on Core Products

Fully recyclable detectable black plastic trays packaging will feature on over 100 individual Tesco own-label products before the end of December this year. At its recent national supplier briefing involving over 300 of its own-label and branded suppliers Tesco, in its ambition to end hard-to-recycle plastics in its business before the end of 2019, confirmed it has launched fully recyclable packaging across a suite of its own-label meat, chilled ready meals and fresh produce lines.  Pigment changes in this Tesco packaging, which involves infra-red detectability in black plastic trays used for meat and other products, will mean 448 tonnes of plastic* can now be recycled.

All of Ireland’s waste plants have the technology to detect the pigment.  Up to now, all black plastic trays have been non-detectable in recycling plants which limited the volumes that could be captured for recycling.  Changes made in the packaging manufacturing process to include a detectable pigment will now mean that once placed clean, dry and loose into the household recycling bin, these products are more readily recyclable at waste plants.

To date, Hilton, provider of Tesco own label fresh meat and breakfast meats, has already moved to the detectable black trays which are now available on products in store. The remaining suppliers aim to transition their roll out of detectable black plastic trays by the end of December this year.


This year, Tesco has worked with five own-label suppliers to achieve this, they are:

  • Hilton which produces Tesco’s own-brand beef, pork, lamb, BBQ range and breakfast meats;
  • Manor Farm which produces Tesco’s fresh packaged chicken and BBQ range;
  • O’Brien Fine Foods which produces packaged cooked meats;
  • Carroll Cuisine which produces sliced cooked meats;
  • Ballymaguire Foods which produces chilled ready meals.


Speaking at a recent supplier briefing Kari Daniels, Chief Executive Officer, Tesco Ireland, said this latest move by Tesco is part of the company’s global commitment to make all its packaging fully recyclable by 2025.  “Our target is to ensure we never use more packaging than is needed. Where we need packaging, because it serves a clear purpose like reducing food waste or to protect a product in transit, we do our best to ensure that what we do use is from sustainable sources and where possible, goes on to be reused or recycled.

“Partnering with our suppliers we’ve worked to harness new technological breakthroughs like this. Collaboration is helping us to meet our ambitious goals.  I recognise we have more to do but today I am very proud of this development in our business, which brings us a step closer to our target,” she concluded.


Commenting on the initiative, Séamus Clancy, CEO of Repak, whose members fund recycling nationwide, said “We welcome this very positive development by Tesco, which will have a substantial impact on the volume of rigid plastic which can be detected in recycling plants.  It is paramount that initiatives like this are coupled with best practice recycling from consumers, who can play their part by ensuring only clean, dry and loose rigid plastics go in the household recycling bin.  As a valued signatory of the Repak Members Plastic Pledge, Tesco is one of the most progressive brands reducing plastic packaging in Ireland in measurable ways, and we applaud its continued efforts under its global commitment.” 


All future black plastic trays on new Tesco own-label products will also use detectable plastic.