By Marc Rath
The supermarket giant has forced the authority to remove its recycling banks from outside its big shops in Eastville, Brislington and Golden Hill.
It has brought in its own recycling bins and hired its own private contractor to maintain them and collect plastic, paper, cans and glass dropped off by customers.
The move could cost the city council thousands of pounds each year as it will no longer profit from selling the tonnes of recycling material left at the supermarkets.
Gary Hopkins, the council’s recycling chief, said the full financial impact of the move had not been properly assessed.
He said: “It’s a concern to us. We seem to have three types of supermarket chains – the smaller ones like Aldi and Lidl who refuse to have recycling banks in their car parks, others like Sainsbury‘s and Waitrose who are happy to work with us, and Tesco, who seem to want to make a profit out of it.
“Once we have details on financial effects, we will communicate that to the public as to what we want them to do.
“In terms of aluminium cans, you can make quite a sizeable profit out of them. We will be asking people to recycle them in their black boxes instead of taking them to Tesco because the council will get the money and help reduce council tax.
“It’s not something Tesco has spoken to the council about.”
Mr Hopkins said the move would affect the council’s efforts to accurately measure how much rubbish Bristolians are recycling.
He said: “We have various targets we have to hit in recycling rates. If we are collecting the material ourselves, we can account for the figures quite easily. But if they (Tesco) are insisting on doing it themselves, these materials will be disappearing from our waste stream and we won’t be able to accurately work out how much rubbish is being recycled.”
Mr Hopkins said although the council would lose out on selling the recycling material, it would save money by not having to clean the bins, and collect and transport the materials.
Stockwood resident Pete Goodwin said he noticed new recycling banks had been installed at Tesco in Brislington.
He said: “It’s possible Bristol City Council will be losing some income from our recycling. People don’t mind recycling for the city council but not for Tesco.”
Tesco is bringing its own recycling banks at all its big stores across the country. The new bins will be operated by its own private contractor DS Smith.
A spokeswoman for the supermarket said the recycling areas in Bristol were being replaced on a like-for-like basis.
She said: “This new partnership will help boost efforts to meet the UK’s overall recycling targets by making the recycling facilities in our stores more attractive, and by rewarding customers through a donation to community projects when they recycle with us.
“Some councils told us they were worried they would no longer be able to maintain their store recycling facilities, so we developed this scheme which we think will complement the great work councils are doing to increase doorstep recycling.”