The announcement comes as part of the M&S Plan A eco-initiative and is set to significantly increase kerbside recycling in the four partnership areas.
The first partnership is with Somerset County Council’s Waste Partnership which manages waste and recycling on behalf of five borough and district councils within the county.
M&S will invest £1.25 million over five years which will allow Somerset Waste Partnership to add plastics and cardboard to its current recycling collection.
“This is a pioneering project that we believe will change the face of recycling in the UK,” said M&S head of packaging Dr Helene Roberts.
“Since the launch of Plan A in 2007 we’ve been on a journey to make our packaging more sustainable.”
Three other similar local authority partnerships will be announced later this year, including Kent Waste Partnership.
These partnerships will help to deliver ‘closed loop’ recycling as they will help to ensure that approximately 15,000 tonnes of packaging waste will be diverted back into food packaging and reused by M&S.
Roberts said: “These partnerships mean that we will get the materials we need to close the recycling loop and deliver a more sustainable future for food packaging.”
Somerset Waste Partnership chair Councillor Derek Yeomans said: “It’s a very significant step forward for the UK recycling industry and another first for Somerset.”
The announcement has been welcomed by those involved in local authority recycling.
Local Authority Recycling Advisory Committee chair Joy Blizzard said: “I think this is fantastic news. It is a tough time for local authorities in terms of making their budgets stretch so these sort of strategic partnerships are going to be the way forward and it is great to see closer collaboration between retailers and local authorities.”