Tesco bread in paper bag

Tesco is to remove 33 million pieces of plastic a year by scrapping packaging from loaves of bread and doughnuts sold in stores across the UK.

The supermarket claimed it was “rewinding the clock back to the days of traditional bakeries” by removing plastic from a raft of its most popular bakery products.

Its move involves removing packaging from loaves of bread, doughnuts and breakfast pastries, to the equivalent of 120 tonnes a year.

Doughnuts will now be sold in a fully recyclable paper bag with a glassine window.

Croissants and pain au chocolat will switch from plastic trays to a traditional recyclable paper bag with a small plastic window.

Tesco said nearly 25 of its in-store bakery bread lines were now being sold loose, although customers could request a paper bag should they want one.

It comes as part of Tesco’s 4Rs packaging strategy to tackle the impact of plastic waste.

In August, The Grocer revealed Tesco was trialling a new bakery format in some of its largest stores, which would include a shift towards selling more loose products, such as tiger bread loaves.

“Many of our customers remember the days when bakeries used much less plastic and we want to go further and faster in removing plastic where alternatives are possible,” said Tesco group quality director Sarah Bradbury.

“We’re really pleased that we have been able to make this move across our in-store bakeries, as part of our plans to cut down on plastic without compromising on freshness and quality.”

Catherine David, director of collaboration and change at climate action NGO Wrap, said: “It’s positive to hear of further moves by Tesco, a founding member of the UK Plastics Pact, to remove unnecessary packaging and tackle plastic waste.

“We must continue to go further, particularly to remove soft plastics like bags and wrappers which are too frequently used needlessly.

“Initiatives by Tesco such as the removal of pointless plastic around multipacks, while ensuring that shoppers are not short-changed, is a win-win for its customers and the environment.”