Waitrose trials 8 new plastic-free concepts to save thousands of tonnes of packaging and plastic

Including a borrow-a-box scheme and a pick and mix zone for frozen fruit.

Waitrose Trials 8 New Plastic-Free Concepts In Store - Waitrose Oxford
Waitrose & Partners

Waitrose & Partners is trialling a series of 'Unpacked’ concepts that could save thousands of tonnes of packaging and plastic – and help shoppers live more sustainably at home too.

Detergent and washing up liquid refillables, frozen fruit pick and mix, and a borrow-a-box scheme where shoppers can borrow a box in store to shop with and take home, are just a few ways in which the supermarket is hoping to eliminate unnecessary plastic and packaging.

'Waitrose Unpacked' is being trialled in its Botley Road shop in Oxford for a period of 11 weeks until 18 August, with hundreds of products out of their packaging. The test is designed to help determine how customers might be prepared to shop differently in the future, and the supermarket will seek as much feedback as possible during this trial period.

While there will be refillable options for everything from wine to beer and cereals to coffees as well as cleaning products, packaged equivalents of the products will remain in their usual areas to create an effective test.

Given the choice between buying packaged or unpackaged fruit and vegetables, which one will customers go for?

The ‘Unpacked’ concepts that will be trialled at the Botley Road store will be as follows:

1) Produce unpacked – 160 loose fruit and vegetable products will be available at the store; the most loose fruit and vegetable lines offered by any national supermarket.

2) Frozen pick and mix – Frozen mango, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple and raspberries are packaging free and will be available as pick and mix.

Waitrose & Partners

3) Plastic removed from flowers and plants – Plastic wrap has been removed from all flowers and indoor plants and replaced with 100 per cent recyclable and 100 per cent PEFC certified craft paper.

4) Detergent and washing up liquid refillables – Waitrose & Partners is the first supermarket to partner with Ecover and provide an automatic detergent and washing up liquid dispenser where customers will be able to refill their reusable Ecover containers

5) Wine and beer refillables – Four different wines and four different beers available on tap to take home in reusable bottles to cut down on the use of glass bottles.

6) Coffee refills – Customers can grind one of four coffees in store to take home in a reusable container to reduce glass and plastic packaging.

7) Essential refillables – 28 products including pasta, rice, grains, couscous, lentils, cereals, dried fruit and seeds have been taken out of packaging and will be available through dispensers.

8) Borrow-a-box scheme – In a UK first, shoppers can borrow-a-box from store to shop with and then take home before returning on their next visit.

Morrisons to roll out plastic-free fruit and veg areas in its stores

Sainsbury's trials a 'pre-cycle' area for customers to recycle plastic in store

Roberts Bakery have switched to 100% recyclable packaging in a bid to reduce plastic waste

'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,' said Tor Harris, Head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners. '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.

'We know we’re not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different.”

As part of its wider initiative, Waitrose & Partners' own-brand packaging will either be widely-recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023. The supermarket also pledges to remove black plastic from all its own-brand products by the end of 2019, and recently launched the world’s first home compostable ready meal packaging, removing nearly nine million products out of black plastic.

georgeclerkGetty Images


Like this article? Sign up to our newsletter to get more articles like this delivered straight to your inbox.

SIGN UP

          More From Sustainable Living