John Lewis trials swathe of new recycling and reuse offerings

John Lewis & Partners has launched a string of seven new initiatives aimed at helping customers to reuse packaging and recycle items which are not currently collected by most domestic kerbside services.

The retailer claims that the removal of 5p carrier bags alone could save five tonnes of plastic annually, if scaled up nationally. Image: John Lewis & Partners.

The retailer claims that the removal of 5p carrier bags alone could save five tonnes of plastic annually, if scaled up nationally. Image: John Lewis & Partners.

The offerings all launched for the first time this week at the retail giant’s Oxford store, to complement the location’s recently unveiled ‘Buy Back’s scheme for used clothing.

They include reusable packaging for ‘Click & Collect’ orders, a recycling scheme for unwanted clothes hangers of any brand and the replacement of plastic bubble wrap for china and glass items with a recyclable, pulp-based alternative.

Also on offer is ‘BeautyCycle’, a take-back scheme for used packaging from cosmetics and toiletries. Under the scheme, customers signed up to the My John Lewis loyalty programme will be rewarded with £5 off their next beauty product purchase in exchange for five pieces of packaging. The initiative is similar to those currently being offered by Lush and The Body Shop, and will operate at an additional 36 John Lewis & Partners stores.

Additionally, John Lewis & Partners will remove all 5p carrier bags from its Oxford store, and offer customers the chance to remove and recycle their ‘Click & Collect’ packaging in store if they wish. The latter of these moves follows on from the ‘mass unwrap’ movement targeting UK supermarkets, while the former comes after John Lewis & Partners removed all 5p bags from subsidiary Waitrose & Partners.

The only non-waste related new offering included in the pilot, which will last for 12 months, is an ‘eco-delivery’ option for home deliveries. This will give customers the chance to book delivery slots at a time when a van would already be near their home, minimising fleet miles travelled and, therefore, fuel consumed.

“Our customers have told us they want us to help them reduce their impact on the planet and that reducing and recycling packaging is key for them,” John Lewis & Partners’ head of sustainability Stephen Cawley said.

“Our message - that we want customers to take away just the product that they love and reduce and reuse the packaging that they don’t - will be clearly communicated throughout the shop.”

Cawley added that the retailer will use customer feedback from the trial before deciding whether to roll any of its components out to other stores.

The trial comes as John Lewis & Partners is striving to make all of its own-brand product packaging either reusable or widely recyclable by 2023, and to become a net-zero business by 2050.

Sarah George



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