Waitrose seeks to cut plastic

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Waitrose is to introduce a self-serve concept branded ‘Waitrose Unpacked’ for everything from loose fruit and vegetable to cereals and coffees, and even cleaning products at its Botley Road store in Oxford in a bid to remove unnecessary plastic waste.

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. Wine and beer will be on tap and available to be taken home reusable bottles, coffee can be ground in store and taken home in a reusable container.

Waitrose’s ‘Unpacked’ also concepts includes the removal of plastic wrap from flowers and indoor plants, a ‘pick and mix’ for frozen fruit and a borrow-a-box scheme which enables shoppers borrow-a-box from store to shop with, take home and then return it on their next visit.

Packaged equivalents of the products will remain in their usual areas to provide for an effective test, giving customers the choice between buying packaged or unpackaged.

Testing these concepts will help the retailer determine how customers might be prepared to shop differently in the future. The test will run for 11 weeks until 18 August.

“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 Waitrose head of corporate social responsibility, Tor Harris.

“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.”

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