Waitrose ranked top supermarket for single-use plastic reduction

Since 2017, Waitrose has reported an ‘absolute plastic reduction’ of 6.1% across both its own-brand and branded ranges

Waitrose has announced it has ranked first in the Environmental Investigation Agency (EIA) and Greenpeace’s annual league table, which assesses how supermarkets are reducing use of single-use plastics, for the second year in a row.

Since 2017, Waitrose has reported an “absolute plastic reduction” of 6.1% across both its own-brand and branded ranges, while also highlighting its refillable pilot scheme.

As part of its submission for the Greenpeace report, Waitrose reported that it achieved a 4% reduction in plastic packaging (1,264 tonnes) and achieved an overall packaging reduction of 2.6% (3,981 tonnes).

The group also increased the amount of recycled plastic it used by 6.1%. It used an average of 18% recycled content and 70% of single-use plastic packaging was widely recyclable.

Following the addition of 13 unpacked options in December, the stores will now offer 51 lines, including frozen fruit, store cupboard essentials such as rice, pasta and grains, cereals, dried fruit, snacking and coffee, as well as washing detergent. The measure aims to reduce the amount of plastic in them by being unpacked.

The trial also aims to understand whether customers could be persuaded to incorporate shopping for unpacked items into their routine “business as usual” shopping trips, rather than visiting a separate part of the shop.

In addition to plans to add more refillable products to the range later this year, the move reportedly underlines the grocer’s ambition to explore the potential to “scale-up” unpacked in the future.

James Bailey, executive director for Waitrose, said: “We are pleased that Greenpeace’s league table has recognised our efforts to decrease our plastic packaging and pioneer unpacked shopping, but we realise there’s more to do. We know this remains as important to our customers as it does to us so we have continued to explore ways we can do more.

“Waitrose Unpacked requires a fundamental change in shopping behaviour that has been ingrained for years. This next phase will help us to understand if we can make refillables a routine part of customers’ shopping trips that would allow us to roll out Unpacked further in the future.”

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