A new recycling project aimed at turning plastic into playground equipment is being launched at Marks & Spencer’s Fosse Park store in Leicester.
The scheme will accept types of plastic not normally taken by council-run recycling schemes in the city and county.
M&S said they want to “prevent plastic waste from going to landfill” by helping customers to bring back non-recyclable plastic packaging.
Customers can drop a variety of plastic packaging into new recycling bins at the Fosse Park store.
A spokesman for M&S said: “The scheme will accept items 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 recycling scheme will take types of plastic not normally recycled by local authorities (Image: M&S)
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 will also see collection points installed at primary schools across Leicester in collaboration with the waste education social enterprise, Wastebuster, where pupils will be taught about the importance of recycling and reducing plastic waste, with the plastic collected “transformed into playground equipment for pupils to enjoy”.
Katy Newnham, a director at Wastebuster, said: “If education is one of the most powerful weapons that can be used to change the world, children are the agents of change.
“This project aims to harness that potential by informing, inspiring and empowering children to help unlock the potential of UK plastic recycling and become the responsible consumers of tomorrow.”
“Schools may only generate a small percentage of UK plastics, but they represent 100% of tomorrow’s population. By educating children to see how they can help care for the environment, through responsible management of plastics, we are empowering the next generation the tools and mindset to shape a more sustainable future.”
Laura Fernandez, Senior Packaging Technologist at M&S, added: “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.”
She added: “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 said it 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.
Fosse Park M&S is among the first stores to run the recycling scheme before it is rolled out to other stores in the UK by the end of the year.
Plastic technology firm, Dow, is supporting the project to help give the collected plastic a new purpose.
The M&S spokesman said: “As part of our goal of becoming a zero-waste business by 2025, we are committed to only using plastic in the business where there is a clear and demonstrable benefit of doing so.”
The retailer said it is replacing it with “planet friendly” alternatives.
It has already started phasing out black plastic used in products such as ready meals and and fruit and vegetables, and intends to 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.
Resource curtesy of Leicestershire Live