Waitrose says 'bring your own containers' in trial to cut plastic and packaging!
Waitrose will allow customers to fill their own containers with products ranging from pasta to washing-up liquid in an effort to cut waste.
Products such as wine, coffee and fruit and vegetables will also form part of the trial designed to reduce plastic and packaging.
The scheme will provide a dedicated refill zone with dispensers for a range of products, as well as the UK's first "pick and mix" for frozen fruit including mango, strawberries and pineapple.
Waitrose customers will be able to "borrow a box" from the store to shop with and return on their next visit.
The supermarket chain said the ideas have the potential to save thousands of tonnes of unnecessary plastic and packaging.
They are being tested at the store in Botley Road, Oxford, which has been transformed to take hundreds of products out of their packaging for the trial.
Packaged equivalents of the products will remain in their usual areas to create an effective test to see if shoppers change how they shop.
The scheme includes:
- 160 loose fruit and vegetable products
- Frozen mango, strawberries, blueberries, cherries, pineapple and raspberries available as pick and mix
- 28 products including pasta, rice, grains, couscous, lentils, cereals, dried fruit and seeds available through dispensers
- Plastic removed from flowers and plants and replaced with 100% recyclable craft paper
- A partnership with Ecover providing an automatic detergent and washing-up liquid dispenser
- Four wines and four beers available on tap to take home in reusable bottles
- Four coffees can be ground to take home in a reusable container
The trial runs until 18 August and the supermarket is seeking as much feedback as possible.
Tor Harris, from Waitrose & Partners, 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.
"We know we're not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different."
Ariana Densham, ocean plastics campaigner for Greenpeace UK, said: "This is a genuinely bold step from Waitrose to trial food dispensers so customers can use refillable tubs and jars.
"Lots of supermarkets are starting to sell loose fruit and vegetables, which is good, but more importantly this kind of innovation could spark a refill culture that's so desperately needed to cut plastics in mainstream shops.
"The top 10 UK supermarkets produce 810,000 tonnes of throwaway packaging each year, so we need to see other major retailers taking plastic reduction seriously and following Waitrose's lead."