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Waitrose trials refill store to cut use of plastic packaging

UK supermarket Waitrose is trialing a zero packaging store, in which customers can bring and fill their own containers through in-store dispensers.

‘Waitrose Unpacked’, which is underway at its Botley Road shop in Oxford, aims to reduce plastic packaging and explore how customers might shop differently in the future.

The supermarket created a frozen ‘pick and mix’ and a borrow-a-box scheme in which customers can pay a small deposit to take home a box and return on the next visit.

“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,” head of CSR for Waitrose & Partners, Tor Harris, said.

“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.”

Waitrose Unpacked offers 160 loose fruit and vegetable products, 100 per cent recyclable and 100 per cent PEFC certified craft paper wrap for plants and flowers in place of plastic, an automatic detergent and washing up liquid dispenser as well as dispensers for alcohol, coffee and essentials such as pasta and grains.

‘Waitrose Unpacked’ will run at the supermarket to spread awareness for a period of 11 weeks until 18 August as it collects feedback from shoppers. It will also be available online as well as on Twitter and Facebook with the hashtag #WaitroseUnpacked.

The UK grocer said there will still be packaged equivalents of the products available in stores to see how effective the scheme is, to see which customers will purchase between buying a packaged or unpackaged fruit and vegetables.

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