Supermarkets have vowed to collect customers’ thin plastic packaging, such as bread bags and cereal liners, on-site in a major recycling breakthrough.

All major UK grocers -Tesco, Asda, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Waitrose and The Co-op - have agreed to collect the packaging, which accounts for 43% of all plastic household packaging, at their on-site units which recycle plastic bags.

The move, part of the On Pack Recycling (OPRL) scheme, could prevent 645,000t of film going to landfill. A new version of the on-pack recycling label will appear on packaging to encourage customers to dispose of items this way.

The thin plastic, also used around multipacks of cans and household goods such as toilet roll, is fully recyclable but, before the deal with struck with the major supermarkets, most people had no means of recycling it. 4,500 supermarkets have on-site units to collect plastic for recycling .

BRC head of environment and director of OPRL Bob Gordon said: “Retailers are prepared to go above and beyond what is expected of them to support customers’ environmental efforts. We know many consumers want to do their bit for the planet and this move will be a big help.[Supermarkets] can double the effectiveness of these [recycling] units by taking plastic films as well.”