Marks & Spencer (M&S) has announced the launch of new recycling bins for non-recyclable plastic packaging as part of its plastic reduction drive.

Customers are able to drop a variety of plastic packaging in the retailers new bins, including black ready meal trays, crisp packets, sauce sachets and certain cosmetics containers, all of which are not currently recylced by local authorities. M&S plans to recycle the collected plastic into store fittings, furniture and playground equipment for schools.

The scheme has initially launched in Food and Beauty Halls at M&S Cribbs Causeway, Loughton, Bluewater, Fosse Park, Westfield Stratford, Waterside and Peterborough, following a successful trial at M&S’s Tolworth store. The retailer plans to roll-out the bins - which will all be made from recycled plastic collected through the first eight stores - nationwide by the end of 2019.

The announcement follows a number of other plastic-reduction initiatives, including the release of a new M&S shopping bag made using recycled plastic, phasing out 75 million pieces of plastic cutlery given out in M&S stores each year, and the replacement of two million straws with paper alternatives.

M&S senior packaging technologist, Laura Fernandez, said: “As a business, we’re committed to reducing the amount of plastic we use, and we have already started phasing out non-recyclable packaging from our products. As we continue to work towards our plastic reduction goals, we want to go a step further and help our customers and the next generation to have a real impact on the environment.

“Customers often don’t know how best to recycle certain types of plastic or where it goes after being collected by local councils. We’re on a mission to provide a greater awareness of landfill avoidance and plastic recyclability, while ultimately helping our customers to give plastic a new purpose and support a truly circular economy.”