Tesco is joining forces with leading sustainable resource management company Veolia, groundwork and local councils to introduce greener school areas and give children a stronger start by learning more about the environment.
The Veolia Orchard campaign will donate almost 600 fruit trees and 800 strawberry plants to schools limited by space or without green areas. Now in its second year, the scheme has expanded across another 190 schools thanks to the generous support of 22 local authorities.
To house the plants, Tesco will donate planters made from recycled soft plastics collected in its stores from customers to help recycle plastic not always collected through kerbside collections. Soft plastic used in each planter could include bread bags, carrier bags and pasta packets, all taken from Tesco's in-store drop-off points, and will help recycle around 7.3 tonnes of materials.
The apple and pear trees and strawberry plants, provided by Grow at Brogdale, which specialises in organic plant care, will be delivered to the winning schools in November when the trees have dropped their leaves, and the plants are in hibernation, giving them the best chance of surviving the British winter. Veolia's ProGrow will also provide peat-free compost to fill the planters.
Veolia Orchard is part of Veolia's Sustainable Schools programme, which aims to educate children and young adults on the importance of protecting our planet and the environment. Tesco's Stronger Starts campaign supports children's physical and mental well-being, encouraging healthy eating alongside learning and opportunities to get active.
Pascal Hauret, Managing Director, Municipal at Veolia, said improving air quality around schools, engaging pupils on the power of plants and finding innovative recycling solutions that contribute the greatest benefit to the communities Veolia serves is all part of its purpose to deliver ecological transformation.
"Considering we only launched Veolia Orchard last year, we are delighted at how popular the campaign is with schools and are thrilled to support nearly double the amount we did in 2022," said Hauret.
Courtney Pallett, Tesco's Packaging Campaigns Manager, said the supermarket's in-store recycling points help make soft plastics even more accessible for its customers to recycle.
"We're delighted to be working with Veolia to turn the plastic waste we collect into something new – keeping it out of the environment and helping create greener learning spaces for children in our local communities," concluded Pallett.