Customers shopping at Waitrose & Partners are being encouraged to bring reusable containers to take home products from the supermarket’s fresh service counters to help save plastic bags.
Shoppers at the supermarket have been able to bring their own clean, lidded containers to take home their fresh meat and fish rather than taking a plastic bag for some time, but signs have now gone up in all stores with meat and fish counters to increase awareness of the policy.
Encouraging customers to adopt reusables forms a key part of the retailer’s packaging and plastic reduction strategy. Last year it removed all disposable cups from its stores so my Waitrose members now have to bring their own reusable cup to claim their free tea and coffee, a move which saves 52 million cups a year.
The supermarket has also committed to replacing loose fruit and vegetable plastic bags with a home compostable alternative by spring 2019 and removing 5p single use carrier bags by March 2019. Together this will save 134 million plastic bags a year.
Waitrose & Partners Head of CSR, Health and Agriculture, Tor Harris, said:
“Our long-term aim is to remove bags completely from our counters or find a suitable alternative for meat and fish in the same way we have with compostable fruit and veg bags, which will be introduced this year. We haven’t as yet found that option and know we can’t remove them overnight as there are food safety considerations when handling raw meat and fish and buying food from the counters has become part of many customers’ regular shop.
“The signs, as well as the conversations our Partners are being encouraged to have with customers, are designed to help us work with our customers to start making a difference as soon as possible.”