Retailer backs campaign to reduce single-use packaging

Aug 04, 2019

A MAJOR retailer is helping customers to reduce single-use packaging as it becomes the first in the UK to introduce a reusable container incentive for fresh food-to-go at its Market Place counters.

The new scheme, available at M&S stores with Market Place counters – including Milton Keynes – aims to incentivise customers to bring their own reusable containers for lunch-to-go by offering a 25p discount off each meal. 

M&S is aiming to reduce the use of disposable items on the high street and encourage a change in consumer behaviour. New research by IGD reveals the food-to-go sector across the UK is set to grow by 26.4% by 2024.

More than 70,000 people pick up lunch from Market Place, currently available in 23 stores across the country, each week.

M&S director of food technology Paul Willgoss said: “Our priority is to reduce single-use packaging and ensure any we do use can be reused or recycled as we work towards our 2022 target for all our packaging to be widely recyclable. 

“Food-to-go is a growing market so finding solutions in this space is an important part of our wider plan. Our Market Place containers are already widely recyclable but we want to go a step further with the introduction of an incentive to encourage customers to switch to reusable containers.” 

M&S already offers a 25p incentive for hot drinks served in reusable coffee cups, an initiative introduced in April last year. To support customers to reuse, M&S is selling a range of clip storage containers from £4, which are available at the Market Place counters.

The existing single-use containers used at Market Place are widely recyclable and are primarily made from Forestry Stewardship Council (FSC) certified cardboard with a plastic lid.

As part of its plastic reduction plan, M&S has already removed 1,000 tonnes of plastic packaging from across its business and is working to ensure all its packaging is widely recyclable by 2022. 

This week M&S has launched a new, widely recyclable terracotta CPET tray to replace black plastic, starting in its Italian ready meals range. 

The retailer has pledged to completely remove all black plastic from its food business by the end of 2020.

“People are rightly concerned about the environmental impact of single-use packaging,” said Trewin Restorick, chief executive and founder of environmental charity Hubbub. “It is massively encouraging to see M&S become the first major retailer to offer customers a financial saving encouraging them to make an important change to their shopping habits. 

“We hope customers will respond positively and other retailers will follow this lead.”

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