Leading global packaging and paper group Mondi and Tesco Central Europe have launched a new partnership, in which Mondi will purchase the retailer’s warehouse corrugated waste to create recycled paper for the retailers’ shopping bags. Tesco is working towards a net zero emission goal, in line with its sustainability targets to remove, reduce, reuse and recycle wherever possible and Mondi is able to contribute to this vision with its customer-centric approach, EcoSolutions.
This is the first time Tesco has collaborated directly with a paper producer to turn its paper waste into a renewable resource in line with their circular economy goals. Mondi uses the retailer’s corrugated waste to produce the EcoVantage grade, in which recycled and fresh fibres are combined to achieve a recyclable and high performing shopping bag. With the EcoVantage paper produced at Mondi’s mill in the Czech Republic, this collaboration shows how suppliers can work with retailers across the value chain to develop circular systems and turn waste back into a valuable resource.
The use of fresh fibre in combination with recycled fibres has multiple benefits. Mondi’s EcoVantage paper combines the strength, printability and appearance of a fresh fibre top layer with the sustainability advantages of a recycled fibre bottom layer.
Mondi sales director specialty kraft paper, Paulus Goess commented: “Our EcoSolutions approach means we collaborate very closely with our customers to create the best possible product for their needs – using paper where possible and plastic when useful. We have been working on this project with Tesco for over two years, with the aim of reusing their warehouse waste to create a quality product that is strong in terms of performance, based on renewable resources, uses recycled materials and can in turn be fully recycled and ultimately contribute to a circular economy. Our strong EcoVantage paper allows consumers to re-use the shopping bag multiple times despite the recycled content and Tesco encourages its consumers to do so.”
Tesco Hungary head of communication, Nóra Hevesi added: “As a responsible retailer, reducing and reusing our waste is essential for us. In 2019 we made a public commitment to make our own brand packaging more sustainable. Our target is to make packaging 100% recyclable by 2025 and to reduce packaging wherever possible. We’ve already made great progress by removing 454 tonnes of hard-to-recycle material from our packaging so far, and it is exciting that we are able to close the loop by recycling our warehouse paper waste and use the recycled fibres in our shopper bags.
“We know how important sustainable and high-quality shopping bags are to our customers, so we are communicating the recycled fibre content and the closed loop concept on the underside of the shopping bags as part of our consumer information. We continue to review our packaging needs for all our products by challenging the specification towards more sustainable alternatives and focusing on how we can increase the amount of recycled content we use even further.”
Tesco has rolled out the shopping bags created with Mondi’s EcoVantage paper in an initial pilot across Hungary, Poland, Czech Republic and Slovakia in November 2020.