Only loose versions of 45 products will be sold in Extra stores in Watford and Swindon

Tesco is launching a trial to remove a selection of plastic-wrapped fruit and vegetable to cut down on packaging waste.

Britain’s biggest retailer said it would run the month-long pilot from Monday at two of its Extra stores, in Watford and Swindon, removing plastic packaging from 45 foods where loose alternatives are available. The items include apples, onions, mushrooms, peppers, bananas and avocados.

The development comes after Tesco announced last year that it would ban hard-to-recycle plastic packaging by 2019 and make all packaging fully recyclable by 2025.

Big supermarkets are responsible for producing more than 800,000 tonnes of plastic packaging waste each year, while consumers have increasingly demanded change as the environmental crisis caused by plastic grows. Plastic bag charges, introduced four years ago, have helped, although research shows that supermarkets still use billions of them each year.

Sarah Bradbury, director of quality at Tesco, said: “We hope this trial proves popular with customers. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the results, including any impact on food waste.”

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