Photo courtesy of Tesco

Tree cheers! Tesco, Veolia help bring healthy plantings, sustainability to British schools

Produce Business report

What better way to kickstart the next generation into building healthy habits and saving the environment than giving them hands-on experience at school.

Last year, a sustainable resource management company Veolia forged a campaign that brought fruit trees and plants into schools that had very little green space. Thanks to the success of the program and word of mouth, it now has a few partners to help expand the programme this year.

Tesco, Groundwork and local companies have signed on and will be helping in the effort to help deliver nearly 600 apple and pear trees and 800 strawberry plants to 190 schools. Tesco’s role is an unusual one: they are acting as a conduit to gift recycled planters from customers through drop-off areas at their stores.

Officials at the retailer say 7.3 tonnes of materials, including those from bread bags, carrier bags and pasta packets, will be recycled. Tesco already has removed more than 2 billion pieces of plastic from its businesses in the UK.

“Our in-store points help make soft plastics even easier for our customers to recycle,” Courtney Pallett, Tesco’s Packaging Campaigns Manager, said. “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.”

The Veolia Orchard campaign’s trees from Grow at Brogdale will be delivered to select schools in November, after the trees have lost their leaves and plants are hibernating so they can make it through winter. Along with Tesco’s planters, Veolia’s ProGrow will help fill them with peat-free compost.

One of the biggest messages, aside from being environmentally friendly (and Veolia’s Sustainable Schools programme) is healthy eating. Tesco’s Stronger Starts campaign empower children to be more mentally and physically strong through better habits, including diet and exercise. This campaign pulls all of it together and also improves the health of their schools.

“Improving air quality around schools, engaging pupils on the power of plants and finding innovative recycling solutions which contribute the greatest benefit to the communities we serve is all part of our purpose to deliver ecological transformation,” Pascal Hauret, Managing Director, Municipal at Veolia said. “Considering we only launched Veolia Orchard last year, we are delighted at how popular the campaign is with schools and are thrilled to be supporting nearly double the amount we did in 2022.” 



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