A leading retailer has launched a new initiative at its Peterborough store to stop plastic going to landfill sites.
M&S, based in the Queensgate shopping centre, has set up a recycling bin where customers can drop off a variety of plastic packaging.
The plastic waste can include black ready meal trays, crisp packets, sauce sachets and certain cosmetics containers, all of which are not recycled by local councils and often 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.
M&S also plans to introduce recycling collection points in primary schools across Peterborough in collaboration with waste education social enterprise, Wastebuster, where pupils will be taught about the importance of recycling and reducing plastic waste, and the plastic collected will be transformed into playground equipment for pupils to enjoy.
Katy Newnham, 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 per cent 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, said: “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.
Alongside M&S Peterborough, the scheme has initially launched in Food and Beauty Halls at M&S Tolworth, Cribbs Causeway, Westfield Stratford, Waterside, Loughton, Bluewater and Fosse Park.
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.
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.