Waitrose is leading by example with an introduction to a package-less way of shopping. An 11-week trial is currently taking place in their Oxford store, with an aim to permanently alter the way we shop.
So far, 2019 has definitely been a year wrapped up in discussion over the state of the environment and climate change. A good proportion of the general public has been fighting for a change of discourse within the government – wanting a complete overhaul of how, as a country, we challenge the effects of pollution.
Our use of plastic has certainly been the forefront of debates, particularly surrounding the welfare of our oceans and the slow but concerning reduction of fossil fuels.
Ariana Densham of Greenpeace UK states that:
‘The Top 10 UK Supermarkets produce 810,000 tonnes of throwaway packaging”
Our excessive use of plastic packaging within supermarkets has led to some scary stats. According to environmentalists, 80% of the waste found in the ocean can be traced back to our methods of disposable. Plus, it is said that by 2050, the fossil fuel reserve which is partially used to create plastic, will run out completely.
With these statistics circulating the press, there has been an increasing demand for large influential retailers to take a stand against the excessive use of plastic. Earlier this month, Waitrose responded to this by introducing Waitrose Unpacked. Currently, this stands as an 11-week in store trial taking place in their Oxford store.
Image retrieved from The Independent
Within the Oxford store, customers are able to visit refilling stations for products such as pasta, cereals, alcohol and even cleaning products. They are encouraged to bring their own reusable boxes to carry their products, or by borrowing a box for a small fee which is reimbursed when you return it.
This method of shopping not only reduces packaging by a massive degree, but it has also been said to be costing the customer 15% less – saving the planet and money.
As previously mentioned, this is merely a trial that will continue until August of this year. Dependant on customer feedback, it is hoped that it will lead to more permanent changes in-store and eventually change the way we shop altogether.
UK Plastics Pact
Waitrose has also announced, along with many other large retailers, that they are proudly a part of Plastics Pact UK – an open initiative which contributes towards a greener future for the UK. Through changes as small as the plastic bag ban or even the amazing measures Waitrose has gone to, Plastic Pact has set aims that they would like to reach in an attempt to clean up Britain’s act:
- By 2025, they would like to see 100% of plastic made to be reusable, recyclable or compostable.
- 70% of plastic has been effectively recycled or compostable
- By 2025, single-use packaging is eliminated
And with changes like the ones seen in Waitrose Unpacked, it’s looking more and more like a reality.