Customers will be able to buy pasta, rice and grains from dispensers instead of plastic packaging © Waitrose & Partners
Customers will be able to buy pasta, rice and grains from dispensers instead of plastic packaging © Waitrose & Partners

Procurement's key role in Waitrose packaging-free trial

Procurement at Waitrose worked with suppliers to establish packaging-free trial at a store in Oxford.

Buyers organised the necessary equipment, along with alternative packaging for customers who forget to bring their own containers for the trial, which involves loose versions of up to 160 fruits and vegetables.

A Waitrose spokesperson told SM: “We have been planning this trial for more than a year during which time our procurement team have played a key role in sourcing the necessary equipment to support the test.

“They also helped us source alternative packaging for customers who forget to bring their own container, such as home compostable fruit and vegetable bags and paper bags for the refill station.

“We worked with suppliers who understood and supported what we want to achieve. They shared the same ethos to corporate responsibility and are happy to embrace change to test new initiatives and ways of shopping.”

As part of the trial frozen fruits will be packaging-free and available as pick and mix. Plastic wrapping will be removed from all flowers and plants and replaced with recyclable, PEFC (Programme for the Endorsement of Forest Certification) certified craft paper.

Products such as pasta, rice, grains, cereals and dried fruits will be available in dispensers.

The store is also offering refillable versions of products such as detergent, washing up liquid, wine, beer and coffee.

Customers without their own refillable containers will be able to borrow a box which can be returned on their next visit.

The trial is running until 18 August 2019 and packaged versions of products will remain in the store to create an effective test of customer preference.

Earlier this year, Waitrose encouraged its customers to use their own containers to take home their fresh meat and fish in efforts to cut plastic bag use by 134m a year.

Meanwhile, Sainsbury’s has announced it will be replacing all single-use plastic bags for loose fruit and vegetables and bakery items in all stores by September 2019.

Customers will be able to use recyclable paper bags or purchase reusable bags made from recyclable materials instead.

It will also remove or replace plastic cutlery, plastic trays for some fruits, vegetables and eggs, and black plastics in food containers, which cannot be easily recycled.

The retailer said the move would cut 1,284 tonnes of plastic this year.

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