Tesco’s Lerwick branch is forging its own environmental path following a decision by management on the mainland to pull out of a Christmas card recycling scheme. The initiative was taken after it emerged Shetland faced being left in the lurch.
A deal between Tesco and environmental charity the Woodland Trust had allowed shoppers to deposit their old cards at stores throughout the country for recycling, with the charity pledging to plant thousands of trees as its part of the bargain.
This year Tesco pulled out of the deal, leaving the trust to run the scheme in conjunction with TK Maxx, WH Smith and Marks and Spencer – none of which have any outlets in the isles.
Tesco’s management said the company wished to concentrate on other environmental initiatives instead, but the move left shoppers in the isles with no convenient way of getting their cards recycled.
Following telephone enquiries by The Shetland Times, manager of Tesco’s South Road branch Paul Clelland said an arrangement had been made with the company’s Livingston depot – which contains recycling facilities – to handle Shetland’s old Christmas cards.
The centre normally recycles packaging materials used for food-stuffs, but Mr Clelland said he was confident it could take cards as well.
“We’ve asked our colleagues on the mainland if they could help us out. We’ve understood customers’ concerns this year so we have been happy to do what we can.”
He urged customers to bring their old cards to the store over the next couple of weeks to allow them to be sent down to the mainland.
Prior to Tesco’s arrival in Shetland Christmas card recycling was run by Shetland Amenity Trust and the Post Office. The council would then arrange for the cards to be shipped south in three tonne loads to be recycled. However the amenity trust had to withdraw from that project because of funding issues.
Tesco’s initial withdrawal had proved to be a headache for the council’s environmental management officer, Mary Lisk, who was left struggling to make alternative arrangements.
She said she was “delighted” that Tesco would be able to take cards after all, and added the council would be keen to get involved in future years should the arrangement continue.
“If Tesco are prepared to let their local branch do other than national policy the council would be more than happy to run the scheme as previously done,” she said.
“It wouldn’t be economically viable to put down small batches, but if Tesco are happy to subsidise it and let the local man carry on we’re absolutely delighted to see it happening.”
Prior to this week’s development she had tried unsuccessfully to forge links with Marks and Spencer in Perth, as the council takes a lot of other material to the area for recycling.
However she was told they would not want three tonnes in one go. Sending down a number of smaller batches, she said, would not make economic sense.
“We would be paying to transport 10 loads as opposed to just one,” she said.