TESCO TRIALS ZERO-WASTE SHOPPING SERVICE
The supermarket chain, Tesco, will enable customers to buy household goods in reusable packaging that can be returned and reused. The move aims to position Tesco ahead of its rivals in terms of environmental commitments and innovation.
In the first large-scale reuse scheme of its kind in the UK, Tesco has partnered with reusable packaging platform Loop. Beginning with 88 products from popular brands including Heinz, Carex handwash, BrewDog beers and Fever-Tree drinks.
During the trial, the single-use packaging items will continue to be available, but they will cost the same as the products sold in reusable packaging. Customers will pay a 20p deposit for each reusable product purchased, which will later be refunded when returned via an app.
The Loop initiative began as a year-long pilot in July 2020, where customers were able to order products and return packaging from their doorstop. To expand the service to a wider consumer base, ten stores across the UK will introduce a zero-waste Loop section of each aisle.
Tesco identified the impact its production of single-use packaging has on the environment and adjusted its comms strategy accordingly, with the introduction of the 4Rs to ‘Remove, Reduce, Reuse, Recycle.’ This strategy has been at the forefront of Tesco’s communications over the past year, and since its conception in 2019, one billion pieces of plastic have been saved from landfill.
The Loop partnership is the next step in the brand’s ESG commitments and positions Tesco ahead of its rivals in the UK. Tesco has said that if customers were to switch three products in their weekly shop, the packaging would be used and reused more than two and a half million times a year.
The initiative differs from the traditional reuse schemes which tend to encourage customers to bring their own containers to fill up with products.
Waitrose previously trialled a zero-waste shopping scheme in 2019, using large stations from which customers could fill their own container with products, but Covid-19 saw an increase in hygiene concerns. In December 2019, M&S introduced its first ‘Fill Your Own’ station in a trial at a Southampton store, while Sainsburys announced it would trial Ecover refill stations for washing up liquid and laundry detergent in 2020.
While none of the previous supermarket trial schemes have prompted large scale uptake, Tesco hopes its new reuse initiative will set the brand ahead of its competitors. In a company statement, Tesco said, “Waste from plastic is a huge problem. In fact, it’s the #1 environmental issue our customers expect us to act on. So, in our partnership with Loop, as a part of our 4Rs strategy to tackle the impact of plastic, we’re rolling out reusable packaging that can be cleaned, refilled and used again and again.”
The statement points to the Loop partnership as a direct response to customer expectations and ensures the brand demonstrates reactive and impactful external engagement. “This partnership is all about testing and learning what works at scale. We know customers want convenience, but we also know they want to play their part in helping to end unnecessary packaging waste,” says Tom Szaky, CEO of TerraCycle and founder Loop.