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Tesco withdraws council recycling sites

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Local authorities have attacked retailer Tesco’s decision to stop councils running recycling banks sited at its stores.

The banks have been located mainly in car parks and provide councils with a source of recyclable materials.

But Tesco is to hand them instead to its recycling contractor DS Smith.

Clyde Loakes (Lab), vice-chair of the Local Government Association environment board, said:  “This decision takes a valuable revenue stream away from councils which was used to reduce the cost to council taxpayers of dealing with municipal waste.”

He added: “It would be extremely disappointing if Tesco used this money to underpin profits rather than address the big problems of excess packaging and food waste.

“Since 2005 retailers have failed to reduce the amount of packaging they produce. As the market leader Tesco should demonstrate how it will help address these issues to reduce the annual £560m cost of landfill which falls on council tax-payers.”

Tesco insisted it would not profit from the move but would donate money raised from recycling to local community projects.

A spokeswoman said details of how this would be done were still to be decided.

She said the switch from councils to Tesco’s contractor would “boost efforts to meet the UK’s overall recycling targets by making the recycling facilities in our stores more attractive, and by rewarding customers through a donation to local community projects when they recycle with us”.

Tesco had acted after “some councils told us they were worried that they would no longer be able to maintain their store recycling facilities”, she said. The company declined to indicate how many councils had expressed such worries.

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