Tesco, the UK’s largest supermarket group, has warned suppliers it will consider de-listing their products if they use excessive packaging.

Launching phase two of its Remove, Reduce, Reuse & Recycle plan to suppliers, including food businesses, the retail giant has committed to removing all non-recyclable and hard to recycle material where possible and to explore new opportunities to re-use it if it can’t.

Having removed more than 4,000 tonnes of materials from 8,000 lines of Tesco’s own-brand products since the initiative was launched a year and a half ago, Tesco has now turned its attention to the branded products of its suppliers.

It has told suppliers that from next year, the size and suitability of packaging will be assessed as part of category reviews and ranging decisions.

Tesco CEO Dave Lewis said: “In the first quarter of 2018 we audited all packaging materials in our business and set ourselves a challenge to remove all hard-to-recycle material by 2019; we’re on track for Tesco own brand and we’re working with branded suppliers to deliver the same. 

“Now we’re taking the next step and tackling excess packaging. From next year, we will assess packaging as part of our ranging decisions, and if it’s excessive or inappropriate, we reserve the right not to list it.”

Tesco announced its packaging plans at four meetings with more than 1,500 suppliers.

Information shared at the supplier meetings included a case study from a branded crisp manufacturer showing the benefits of tackling excess packaging. By reducing the size of packaging on multi-buy crisps by 23%, the manufacturer delivered a reduction of 5,000 tonnes in packaging weight and 50,000 less road miles as pallets were packed more efficiently, reducing the number of lorry journeys.

Tesco also reiterated its call for the UK government to introduce a national collection and recycling infrastructure.