Supermarket giant Tesco will no longer be giving Green Clubcard points for customers who have returned empty items to deposit in their recycling machines.
The machines are designed to take a variety of recyclable materials including plastic, tin and glass and are located in around 40 branches of the store throughout England and there’s one in Scotland too.
Consumers were encouraged to clean and return their items and place them in the machines after inserting their Clubcards. The machines usually awarded one point for every four recycled items deposited, however some unscrupulous customers were found to be cutting their plastic bottles in half in order to get ‘double points’ by putting two items into the machine instead of one whole one. As a result, from this point on ‘Green Clubcard’ points will only be issued for aluminium cans, which cannot be tampered with.
A Tesco spokeswoman commented on the abusers of the system and told BBC News, ‘We were unable to sustainably award points’.
It’s thought that the idea of cutting corners by cutting up plastic bottles was possibly fuelled by the couple in Hampshire who avidly and legitimately collected various items of recyclable materials to deposit in their local store’s machines. The proceeds were used to fund air-miles for flights used during their honeymoon.
Tracey Smith, environmentalist and author of The Book of Rubbish Ideas commented, ‘It’s a great shame that Tesco hadn’t thought their scheme through well enough to allow for this not to happen. They don’t appear to be suffering great financial losses during the recession and could easily appoint staff to oversee the recycling deposits, which would ensure fair play. ‘
‘Tesco have a moral and corporate social responsibility to encourage their customers to make the right green choice. Encouraging consumers to ‘close the loop’ on the materials economy by getting them to put existing products back into the system, is far better then risking them going off to landfill and that should have a much higher priority over Tesco awarding a few unofficially earned Clubcard points.’
Smith is actively campaigning for all supermarkets and large retailers to provide receptacles at the point of sale for customers to deposit excess and superfluous packaging like plastic, cardboard and cellophane. Plastic multi-pack holders commonly used on baked beans and tins of drink for example, would take around 400 years to fragment and breakdown in landfill, but they would never biodegrade and disappear.
Details of how to get involved in the campaign can be found on www.BookOfRubbishIdeas.co.uk