"The foods purchased from the Waitrose refill stations will also be up to 15% cheaper than their pre-packaged equivalents, offering another BYOC benefit to consumers – saving them money."
With 53% of consumers reducing the amount of disposable single-use plastic they use, the UK has woken up to the issue and the age of single-use plastic packaging looks to be on its way out. A new trend - or should I say - style of shopping has been adopted and is quickly taking off. Bring Your Own Container (BYOC) shopping is beginning to grow in popularity across the UK, with major supermarket chain Waitrose being at the forefront of the issue. The BYOC shopping initiative involves bringing reusable containers from home and using refill stations to avoid single-use plastic packaging.
The supermarket industry is a large producer of plastic with the top 10 UK supermarkets producing 810,000 tonnes of single-use plastic each year. Other supermarket chains such as Asda are attempting to tackle this by installing their own plastic reduction systems to reduce their overall consumption of single-use plastics.
Waitrose is trialling refill stations across a select line of stores in Oxford, Cheltenham, Abingdon and Wallingford. The scheme has been so successful that it has been extended into a further three locations, proving a positive market response. In these stores, planet-conscious customers are ditching single-use containers and filling up on pastas, grains, cleaning detergents, fruit and even beer and wine. And as customers only take what they need, food is much less likely to be wasted.
The foods purchased from the Waitrose refill stations will also be up to 15% cheaper than their pre-packaged equivalents, offering another BYOC benefit to consumers – saving them money.
Along with supermarkets, other organisations are embracing the BYOC initiative across the board. The University of Reading has installed refill stations inside its campus stores to encourage single-use plastic reduction. In 2018, it installed a trackable refill station for soft drinks and water in which special bottles embedded with a microchip allowed students to prepay for soft drinks. Over the summer, it also installed a central refill station for cleaning products and laundry detergents for its 15,840 students to use. These new systems have been embraced by the student body, and as a result, the university has seen a decrease in the consumption of single-use plastics across its campuses.
As a topic dominating headlines and creating a buzz on social media, businesses and consumers are upping their sustainability credentials by swapping single-use plastic for greener alternatives. The reduction of single-use shopping bags and positive uptake of the BYOC initiative is significant. But what next for sustainable shopping trends? To understand if single-use plastic is well and truly on its way out, we will be keeping a close eye on how this method of shopping develops and how other retailers are embracing it. Stay tuned!