Waitrose to include wine and beer refill system as part of its "Unpacked" trial

Waitrose is trialling a wine and beer refillable system as part of its “Unpacked” scheme, which aims to reduce unnecessary packaging and plastic.

The trial, which is taking place in its Botley Road shop in Oxford, will see hundreds of products out of their packaging including four different wines and four different beers, with initial suppliers to include When in Rome wine and Toast Ale. The wines and beers will be available on tap to be taken home in reusable bottles, to cut down on the use of glass bottles.

The test store will also include a dedicated refillable zone (for products such as pasta, rice, grains and dried fruit), the UK’s first frozen “pick and mix” and a borrow-a-box scheme.

In the fruit and vegetables section it said 160 products will be available loose at the store, while it has also removed plastic from flowers and plants.

It has partnered with Ecover to provide an automatic detergent and washing up dispenser, where customers will be able to refill their useable Ecover containers.

Customers will also be able to grind one of four coffees in store to take home in a reusable container.

The Borrow-a-box scheme, which it said is a “UK first” will allow shoppers to borrow a box in store to shop with and then take home before returning it on their next visit.

Tor Harris, head of CSR for Waitrose, said: “We are determined to build on the work we have already done to reduce packaging – and this test will take our efforts to a whole new level as we help the growing number of customers who want to shop in a more sustainable way.

“This test has huge potential to shape how people might shop with us in the future so it will be fascinating to see which concepts our customers have an appetite for. We know we are not perfect and have more to do, but we believe this is an innovative way to achieve something different.”

The test, which will be branded strongly as “Waitrose Unpacked” across the shop will run for a period of 11 weeks until August 18. The test is being supported by the hashtag #WaitroseUnpacked on Twitter and Instagram.

The supermarket has pledged to remove black plastic from all of its own-brand products by the end of 2019. 

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