UK supermarket giant Waitrose is launching a packaging-free shopping experiment, with one of its flagship stores supplying a host of food, drink and household products without packaging.
In the Waitrose Oxford store shoppers can fill their own containers with product from in-store dispensers. Foods such as pastas and rice, grains, couscous, lentils, cereals, dried fruit and seeds, drinks including beers and wines, and household goods including cleaning materials are all available packaging free. There is also a choice of 160 loose fruit and vegetables available, and a range of package-free frozen fruit such as blueberries and strawberries.
The top ten UK supermarkets generate 810,000 tonnes of throwaway packaging each year, and are under serious pressure to reduce that significantly, as are Australian supermarkets. They are already ditching plastic wrapping for fruit and vegetables; the Waitrose experiment takes it to a new level.
Customers can also join the borrow-a-box scheme to take the items home
The pull for shoppers is an average 15 per cent cut in the price of the goods, plus the feeling they are doing something for the environment.
Packaging in the UK is under concerted attack following the release of the David Attenborough Blue Planet documentary, which highlighted the issue of plastic waste in the world's oceans.
The UK is also under pressure to introduce plain packaging for sugar-loaded products in much the same way the cigarettes had to use plain packaging. The UK already has a sugar tax.