Tesco boss Dave Lewis has said the grocer will step up efforts to cut down on single-use plastics by adding measures that would include banning brands that use “excessive” plastic packaging from its shelves.

Writing in The Guardian, the chief executive of the UK’s largest supermarket said Tesco would “reserve the right not to list” products with too much non-recyclable plastic from 2020.

The retailer issued suppliers with a list of preferred materials in May 2018 but is now looking to increase public awareness of the issue, having also recently announced it would no longer be using plastic bags for grocery deliveries.

Lewis said: “We can’t overlook the fact that for too long packaging on consumer goods has been excessive.

“We have all looked at the settled contents of a cereal packet and puzzled over the comparative size of the bag and box. Or opened a bag of crisps and wondered why the packaging is twice the size of the contents.”

At its most recent update, Tesco said 13% of the packaging of its own-brand products was hard-to-recycle plastics, such as the black plastics on microwaveable ready-meals. Lewis said Tesco was working with suppliers to eliminate these products by the end of this year. 

Lewis also flagged the work the retailer is doing at its Extra store near Cambridge, which is being used for a number of trials aimed at reducing plastic use. “Customers are helping us understand how we can make it easier to use less packaging,” he said. ”When we understand what changes work best, we’ll roll them out to all our 2,658 UK stores.”

Tesco has also been working to create a closed-loop system for packaging that uses as little plastic as possible and where it is used, it will be reused, collected and recycled continuously in order to ensure no plastic packaging goes to landfill.

Other major supermarkets have also been working on issues around reducing plastic waste.

Iceland was the first supermarket in the UK to commit to being plastic-free across all of its own-brand ranges by 2023; Sainsbury’s recently announced it would be scrapping plastic bags for loose fruit, vegetables and bakery items from all of its stores; while Morrisons, Waitrose and Aldi have been experimenting with paper instead of plastic shopping bags.