EXCLUSIVE: Tesco follows Waitrose in banning single-use plastics from magazines

Tesco is the second supermarket to take action against publishers pushing single use plastics.

Tesco is to follow Waitrose in cracking down on single-use plastics in its magazine range, according to several sources.

The supermarket is currently negotiating a ‘major’ magazine range review which is expected to go live in mid-October this year.

It has been confirmed to betterRetailing that as part of the change, publishers will need to meet four sustainability requirements in order to achieve new magazine listings in Tesco stores.

These requirements include a ban on all single-use non-recyclable covermounts, for all paper and card to be from FSC/PEFC certified sources, limits on how much packaging can be used and a block on ‘unnecessary parts.’

Although Tesco refused to comment when approached by betterRetailing, the move was confirmed by several sources including magazine distributor Intermedia.

Unlike Waitrose’s covermount ban, which only applies to single-use plastic covermounts on kids magazines, Tesco’s single-use non-recyclable covermount ban appear to apply across the entire magazine category. Segments including kids, crafts, puzzles and style are likely to be the most heavily affected.

One industry insider said the ‘writing is on the wall’ and other major magazine stockists are likely to follow suit, forcing a change in publisher strategy. “Sustainability has to be a major focus if they want to keep their listings, and that means more than just cover mounts, it’s the plastic they use to bundle magazines and even the material they use to post them to subscribers.”

Waitrose announced plans to cull kids magazines with plastic covermounted toys in late March. Publishers were allegedly blindsided by the move from Waitrose head office, and given just eight weeks to comply. The action came in response to a petition by ten year-old Skye Neville which called on the supermarket to stop giving away disposable toys in its magazine range.

The range review rules aren’t Tesco’s only shake-up of the magazine category. The supermarket is also set to introduce scan-based trading, though the initial start date of 12 July is said to have been delayed due to wholesaler difficulties.

Under scan-based trading, credit is awarded based on using sales data to calculate unsold copies rather than the industry standard method of counting the number of copies returned. Sources told betterRetailing the move is driven by Tesco’s desire to tackle high shrinkage rates in magazines, with one claiming the radical changes afoot would ‘scare the pants off’ of publishers.

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