Waitrose launches packaging-free trial to reduce plastic waste

Read Time:   |  4th June 2019

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British supermarket Waitrose is trialling a “bring your own” container scheme that encourages customers to buy and refill produce in a bid to tackle plastic pollution. 

waitrose packaging free trial

As part of a ground-breaking trial, Waitrose supermarket is allowing customers to purchase a range of products and fresh produce items that are completely free from packaging.

In a bid to tackle the amount of waste produced by large retailers, the supermarket chain is encouraging customers at its Botley Road shop in Oxford to bring their own reusable containers that can be filled with staples such as pasta, rice and pulses from a series of dispensers. The UK supermarket is the first major UK supermarket to offer a dedicated refill station.

The supermarket boasts the largest number of loose fruit and vegetable lines of any national supermarket, has removed plastic wrap from its flowers and indoor plants and has launched refillable options for everything from wine to beer and cereals to coffees as well as cleaning products.

The test, which will be branded strongly with ‘Waitrose Unpacked’ across the shop to maximise awareness, will run for a period of 11 weeks until 18 August as the supermarket seeks as much feedback as possible. A feedback survey will also be available on its website page, Waitrose.com/Unpacked, and #WaitroseUnpacked will feature on Twitter and Instagram.

Sustainable shopping 

In a statement, Head of CSR at Waitrose & Partners, Tor Harris said: “We are determined to build on the work we’ve already done to reduce packaging, and this test will take our efforts to a whole new level as we help the growing number of customers who want to shop in a more sustainable way.

“This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for.”

waitrose packaging free trial

Plastic-free revolution

British supermarket Morrisons has also been taking steps to tackle the problem of plastic waste by removing plastic from its fruit and vegetable aisles in 60 stores. In a move that the supermarket claims will save 156 tonnes of plastic each year, the chain will sell 127 varieties of fruit and vegetables and provide customers with recyclable paper bags to keep their produce in.

A London supermarket has also recently taken drastic measures to reduce plastic rubbish by ditching plastic packaging in its mission to become Britain’s first plastic-free supermarket.

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