Sainsbury’s axes consumer recycling centres from around 250 stores

Sainsbury’s has been removing its on-site recycling centres across the UK, as it “prioritises services that people cannot get elsewhere”.

The Times newspaper revealed that the grocer had been quietly closing down its recycling points for items including metal glass and cans across a number of local communities, where there have been reports of missing bins since early this year.

A spokesperson for the UK’s second largest supermarket told Sustainability Beat it was prioritising services being offered on its sites as it focuses on “areas where we can make the biggest difference and and support our customers in their efforts to help the planet.”

“As recycling of materials such as glass and cardboard is available from home with local councils, we’re prioritising services at our stores that people cannot get elsewhere. For example, all our supermarkets offer flexible plastic recycling.”

Sainsbury’s – which lists recycling as one of its ‘six pillars of sustainability’ – also added that customers can recycle crisp packets, salad bags, biscuit and cake wrappers in-store, as well as carrier bags, clothes hangers and batteries.

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Removal of the recycling centres comes despite a range of sustainability measures from Sainsbury’s – including dropping use by dates across its own brand range milks, launching a beef range with a lower carbon footprint and rolling out cardboard hangers that save 103 tonnes of plastic per year.

Writing to the Hampshire Chronicle, one local community member said “Is anyone able to explain one of life’s mysteries to me, please? Until early last year there was a large orange recycling bin for hard plastics in the Badger Farm Sainsbury’s car park”

The letter continued: ” It was much used by the public though not sufficiently frequently emptied and was often surrounded by bags and boxes of plastic as it was full to bursting. This being the only bin I knew about in the Winchester area, I’m at a loss to understand why it was removed and has never been replaced.”

In a Facebook post responding to the news Conservative MSP Maurice Golden wrote: “I hope Sainsbury’s reconsider. The local supermarket is a convenient place for many people to recycle.”

“Removing those facilities is only going to make recycling less attractive. It’s a reminder though that Scotland needs a  comprehensive recycling strategy.”

Earlier this year supermarkets were lobbying the government to delay recycling reforms which would have seen retailers pay for the collection of recycling and packaging waste collected from homes.

Materials and packagingNet zeroNewsRetail

4 Comments. Leave new

  • Sainsbury’s is silently becoming Aldi. If it doesn’t look out soon, it will have lost all that makes it Sainsbury’s. Very said to see Sainsbury’s decline over the years. I won’t need to shop at Aldi as my local Sainsbury’s is in all but name Aldi!

  • They should not of got rid of pharmacy’s either, it was handy having them in the supermarket all the other supermarkets have them so why not Sainsbury’s ?

  • I will be using Sainsbury in WB a lot less in the future as they have seriously reduced the recycle service at their WB store.

  • People didn’t behave. They made a mess and fly tipped. It’s their own faults


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