We began by putting our house in order at our head office by banning plastic water bottles and cups, and by stopping the use of non-recyclable coffee cups. Every member of staff was given a reusable aluminium water bottle. We also banned the sale of plastic straws in our stores.
We then wrote to over 400 suppliers of our own label products and branded goods inviting them to get involved in the work of plastic removal, receiving a positive response. We now have 11 active Supplier Working Groups, involving 100 suppliers, sharing best practice and working proactively on innovation. Through this collaborative work, we have conducted more than a hundred plastic free or reduced plastic packaging trials.
In the first two years since we made our pledge to eliminate plastic by the end of 2023, we reduced our own label plastic packaging usage by 29%. That’s a total of 3,794 tonnes out of the 13,000 tonnes we were using in January 2018.
In October 2018 we removed 5p single use carrier bags from our tills removing 120 million of them a year from circulation. Following a successful trial at our store in Hackney in July 2019, we rolled out reusable paper bags across all our stores and now have 50 stores that are completely plastic bag free, offering reusable paper or jute carrier bags as an alternative to plastic.
Across our range of approximately 1,500 own label products, we had reduced the number of lines packed in black plastic to 81 by July 2019, and ended all packing in black plastic by the end of January 2020.
Read our 2019 Plastics Annual Report here
Read our 2018 Plastics Annual Report here