Ever since the Blue Planet finale exposed the impact of plastic waste on the oceans, single
plastic has been in the spotlight. In May, the government announced that plastic straws, cotton
buds and stirrers will be banned from next April – a move backed by 82% of Brits (YouGov). Such
support has forced mainstream brands to revaluate what changes they can make.
This week, Unilever announced plans to slash the staggering 700,000 tonnes of new plastic used
across their brands globally. Last month, Burger King vowed to stop giving away promotional
plastic toys. Taking a swipe at their giant rival’s Happy Meals, they also agreed to in store
collections of old plastic tat. They plan to melt this into other useful items, such as trays for their
restaurants. In response, McDonalds announced they will let customers choose between fruit and
books and the original toys.
With so much scrutiny given to the lifespan of disposable items, the next logical step is to remove
single use packaging altogether. In the UK we have seen a huge uptake in reusable on the go
coffee cups and water bottles, and we are now seeing this filter into a reuse first shopping
Waitrose, for one, has trialled a refillable store concept –“Unpacked”. There are now four
“Unpacked” stores, all with an area dedicated to food refilling stations. Not only do these remove
the need for packaging, they also help reduce food waste, as shoppers can control portion sizes.
Currently, however, the section includes only one brand – detergent brand Ecover – with the rest of
the zone feeling more like a brand-free greengrocer.
Boots’ new flagship store also hosts a refillable station, this time from socially and environmentally
conscious brand the Beauty Kitchen. Rather than opting for pre packaged shampoo, conditioner
and body wash, shoppers can use Beauty Kitchen’s refillable products.
Whilst mass-market companies are waking up to the importance of recyclable packaging, eco
conscious brands are one step ahead, and on a mission to remove the need to recycle altogether.
Other brands may wish to adopt a similar outlook, or otherwise risk being left behind as consumers
become more knowledgeable about the undesirable environmental effect of unsustainable
https://www.which.co.uk/news/2019/08/waitrose unpacked is packaging free food budget friendly/
https://beautykitchen.co.uk/blogs/news/beauty kitchen refill station boots covent garden