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Feature: Lets work together

There are three main messages that Tesco's Andrew Duckworth says he wants to get across to local authorities. The first is that packaging has a role in society. Duckworth maintains that Tesco does not over-package its goods and the packaging is out of necessity - although he also mentions that the company has been working with the Waste and Resources Action Programme to tackle packaging minimisation.

The second message is the importance of innovation in driving forward the field of recycling and waste management. The final message is the desire of the company to work more closely with local authorities. Duckworth says Tesco wants to understand their strategies and work with them to provide clear and consistent messages to customers and constituents.

Duckworth explains that more communication about what both parties hope to achieve is needed. "The relationship between the public and private sector really doesn't exist," he says, but adds that "if you share a strategy then it is easier to work together".

He brings up the example of local authorities entering into 25-year agreements with waste management
companies, suggesting that it could also be worthwhile for local authorities to talk to large retailers before sinking their funds into big investments such as a
materials recycling facility, so both can discuss their aims. He justifies this by saying that the two are "probably trying to achieve the same thing" and that "the key to it is co-operation".

Tesco has already started working with Hampshire County Council, and Duckworth intends to use this as a case study, which he will discuss further in his talk at the LARAC conference.

In terms of innovation, Tesco is currently trialling a front-of-store recycling system that Duckworth describes as a "technical solution to bring banks".

The company's state-of-the-art bring bank can
collect all materials in one machine, which sorts and shreds on-site. The idea is that by breaking the material down within the machine, it will be able to store about 50 times more waste and will not need emptying as often as a trad-itional recycling unit. Material will be ready sorted and able to go straight to a reprocessor.

A trial for what Tesco describes as "Britain's first fully-automated recycling machines" is currently taking place in five of its stores.

Tesco thinks the bring banks will help its customers triple the amount of waste they bring to the stores for recycling.

Three stores that are trialling the banks have also started running an incentives programme. The schemes enable customers to donate 50% of monies received from recovered materials to charity, receive money-off vouchers for cola and beer, and enter prize draws for iPod Shuffles. The volume of recyclables collected has increased, and Tesco says there has been minimal impact on kerbside collections, suggesting that people are recycling more waste rather than simply transferring where they recycle their waste.

Duckworth goes on to discuss who should be responsible for packaging waste. "Packaging waste is often seen as the retailer's problem, when actually it's an industry problem," he says. He uses Coke and Stella
as examples, and says it is in their interest to look at packaging: "We should look at industry to change and we should have support and investment from industry to deliver these changes."

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