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Marks & Spencer is taking action to prevent plastic waste from going to landfill by launching a new initiative, which will enable customers to bring back non-recyclable plastic packaging.

Customers can drop a variety of plastic packaging in M&S’s new recycling bins, including black ready meal trays, crisp packets, sauce sachets and certain cosmetics containers, all of which aren’t currently recycled by local councils and typically end up in landfill. The retailer has pledged to give collected plastic a new life by recycling it into store fittings, furniture and playground equipment for schools.

The scheme has initially launched in Food and Beauty Halls at M&S Tolworth, Cribbs Causeway, Westfield Stratford, Waterside, Loughton, Bluewater, Fosse Park and Peterborough. The retailer will roll-out the bins to M&S stores nationwide by the end of 2019, which will be made from recycled plastic collected through the first eight stores. 

In addition to benefitting customers, M&S will introduce 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.

Laura Fernandez, Senior Packaging Technologist at M&S, 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.”

As part of its plastic plan, M&S will ensure all of its packaging is widely recyclable by 2022, which will see the retailer remove 1,700 tonnes of black plastic packaging by this Spring.

The take-back initiative follows the launch of a three-month trial at M&S’s Tolworth store, where it has removed plastic packaging from over 90 lines of fruit and veg and introduced greengrocers to the shop floor.

M&S has partnered with Dow, a leader in plastics technology, to support the scheme and enable the retailer to give the collected plastic a new purpose.

M&S plastic take-back initiative_.jpg

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For further information, please contact:

M&S Corporate Press Office

0208 718 1919

Notes to Editors:

About M&S’s Plastics Plan

As part of its goal of becoming a zero-waste business by 2025, M&S is committed to only using plastic in its business where there is a clear and demonstrable benefit of doing so. The retailer has committed to removing over 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from its business by Spring 2019.

M&S is designing plastic out, replacing it with planet friendly alternatives and making sure that any plastic it does use will be ‘widely recyclable’ by 2022. It has already started phasing out black plastic from products such as ready meals and fruit and vegetables and will extend this to fish, meat and poultry later this year.

M&S has already phased out 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery given out in its stores each year and replaced two million straws with paper alternatives.

To find out about M&S’s approach to plastic, please visit: https://corporate.marksandspencer.com/plan-a/our-plastics-plan

About Wastebuster

Wastebuster is a not-for-profit, environmental education company (CIC), constituted in 2006 to encourage young people to foster a greater appreciation of the environment and adopt lifestyles in harmony with nature. Wastebuster develops cross-sector environmental education programmes, multi-media resources and campaigns in the UK and internationally that aim to support delivery of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Wastebuster co-developed the national Recycle now school’s education programme in partnership with WRAP and delivers school waste education programmes and community engagement campaigns to local authorities in England.

For more information, please visit www.wastebuster.co.uk or www.wastebuster.global.

About Dow

The Dow Chemical Company (Dow) combines science and technology knowledge to develop premier materials science solutions that are essential to human progress.

Dow has one of the strongest and broadest toolkits in the industry, with robust technology, asset integration, scale and competitive capabilities that help it to address complex global issues.

More information can be found at www.dow.com.