Tesco bans council recycling bins in its car parks

May 24, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Supermarket giant Tesco is forcing councils around the UK to remove their recycling bins from their car parks by June of this year. The company wants to install and profit from its own recycling facilities (installed by contractor DS Smith). There will be no visible difference for consumers at first: they will have access to Tesco’s high tech recycling bins that scan items one by one and “decide” if they are suitable for recycling. These bins can receive plastic, cans and glass, but not paper.

Tesco’s decision has angered city councils as it entails losing a large amount of revenue, somewhere between £50,000 and £80,000 per year according to the Daily Mail. Indeed, in some local authorities, Tesco’s council bins have made up to 25% of recycling points.

Councils use reprocessors that convert most of the waste into reusable and sellable materials. For example, recycled paper can be used by the newspaper industry, glass can be reground into sand and plastic transformed into plastic bags. Councils have been motivated by the growing demand for recycled materials, especially paper.

Income from recycled goods is used by councils to maintain smaller recycling points, as well as to recoup sorting, processing and haulage costs. Unfortunately, Tesco’s decision may mean that ultimately shoppers lose out on some of their council services. What’s more, councils can be fined if they don’t meet recycling targets set out by the government.

The supermarket chain claims that it will invest in community projects to make up for the loss suffered by local authorities.

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