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Brief Published: 24 Jun 2019

Top UK Supermarkets Ditch Single-Use Plastic

Britain's leading supermarkets are taking radical measures to cut down on single-use plastic – a great move, considering the top 10 currently produce 810,000 tonnes of the stuff per year (Greenpeace UK, 2018).

In June, Waitrose began trialling an in-store refill station at an Oxford branch. Shoppers can now fill their own containers with loose dried produce such as pasta, rice, coffee, fruits and vegetables. They can also refill liquids such as wine, beer, and washing detergent from UK sustainable brand Ecover. The Waitrose Unpacked offering also includes a pick-and-mix-style option for loose frozen fruit.

To encourage the uptake of hundreds of plastic-free options in-store, all self-service products cost 15% less than their packaged alternatives. Shoppers without their own containers can also 'borrow a box' for a deposit of £5 ($6), which is refunded on its return. If successful, the initiative will be rolled out nationwide towards the end of this year.


Meanwhile, Morrisons has introduced packaging-free fruit and vegetable aisles in 60 of its stores, with 127 different fresh products available to take home loose or packed in complimentary brown paper bags.

Other major supermarket chains have also recently pledged to dramatically reduce their plastic waste. Asda has promised to eliminate 10% of the plastic from its own-brand products by the end of 2019, while frozen-food retailer Iceland is aiming to remove all plastic from its products by 2024.


For further examples of how supermarkets worldwide are finding creative ways to become more planet-friendly, read Supermarket of the Future: Lessons in Eco-Ethical Excellence. For a broader view on how sustainability is impacting the future of food, see The Post-Vegan Opportunity – part of our latest Macro Trend, Towards Our Sustainable Future.