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Sainsbury’s plans to setup water refill stands at its cafes which will enable its customers to fill their own re-usable bottles with water.

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Sainsbury’s joins the list of retailers that offer reverse vending machines in their stores.

Lincoln superstore to host the trial for now…

Shoppers at the Lincoln superstore will be able to recycle plastic bottles and aluminium cans and receive in return 5p coupon for each item to be used for their next shopping. The machines will only accept bottles and cans from brands and own label ranges that are sold in Sainsbury’s stores.

Several retailers, including Iceland, Morrisons and Tesco have already started trialling the technology in 2018. In addition, Co-op Food has trialled last year the same concept in its pop-up shops at several music festivals last summer, and will do the same again this year.

The initiative comes amid the UK government’s intention to introduce a national bottle deposit return scheme. Indeed, a consultation period on how the scheme might operate has recently ended, and feedbacks are now being considered.

Source: Sainsbury's

…before adding the machines to another four stores

Sainsbury’s has ‘tweeted’ that it plans to add the machines to another four stores in the next few weeks. In addition, up to 500 items can be returned by a single customer at a time.

Last week, Sainsbury’s has announced several steps that aim to reduce the amount of plastic being used across its stores.

Sainsbury’s has pledged to scrap plastic bags for key items and is due to become the first UK supermarket to phase out plastic bags for fresh fruit and vegetables as well as bakery items in all its stores.

1,284 tonnes of plastic to be removed

By September, customers will be able to use paper bags for loose bakery products whilst they can either bring their own bag or purchase a re-usable bag that’s made of recycled materials for their fruit and veg shopping. On top of that, plastic trays for several key vegetables and fruits, as well as plastic lids from cream pots and plastic sleeves from herb pots will be removed. Also, black plastic trays will be replaced with recyclable alternatives by the end of the year, while black ready-meal trays will be replaced within the next couple of months.

Recently, the retailer has announced its intention to stop the use of dark coloured plastics across fresh foods by March 2020.

“We are absolutely committed to reducing unnecessary plastic packaging in Sainsbury’s stores. Our customers expect us to be leading the way on major issues like this, so I am determined to remove and replace plastic packaging where we can and offer alternatives to plastic where packaging is still required to protect a product,” said Mike Coupe, Sainsbury’s chief executive.

Several retailers have stepped up the number of initiatives that are aimed to reduce their plastic use, the latest of which is Waitrose which has launched a trial at its Oxford store which introduced a refillable zone.

For more related content, please visit our Resilient and responsive hub.

Sainsbury’s has promised to eliminate the use of difficult-to recycle dark coloured plastics across its fresh foods products by the end of 2019 and entirely by March 2020.

‘Pre-cycle’ trial scheme

Sainsbury’s plans to implement a trial scheme that enables customers to ‘pre-cycle’ by providing a section where they can get rid of unwanted primary and secondary packaging in store which can be left for recycling. According to the retailer, the move means first that food remains protected throughout the supply chain, and second that customers are given the choice to recycle packaging before they leave the store with their purchases.

Plan for the next twelve months

Similarly to its rivals, Sainsbury’s has engaged in reducing the amount of used plastic packaging. In fact, it plans to remove a further 1280 tonnes of plastic from its products and make sure that all plastic packaging is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.

“We are serious about reducing plastic. For many years, Sainsbury’s has prioritised sustainability and sought innovative solutions to reduce plastic packaging and increase recycling. Today’s announcements show what we have already achieved and demonstrate our firm commitments for the future to make significant reductions in plastic use,” said Mike Coupe, Chief Executive Officer of Sainsbury’s.

For more Sainsburys related insights, check out this page.


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27 June, London
Hear from Group CEO, Mike Coupe and the Sainsbury's and Sainsbury's Argos leadership teams, who will provide a business and commercial update on ‘Destination Sainsbury’s’.

A practical one day workshop for all roles in suppliers, to help develop your understanding of the vital part that supply chains play in underpinning FMCG businesses.