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Morrisons launches "zero waste" store trial as part of packaging clampdown

Gaelle Walker
14 September 2021

Morrisons has become the latest major multiple to enter the packaging waste fray, with the launch of “zero waste” trial stores and new in-store recycling points for shoppers.

The trial, in six stores across Edinburgh, is designed to help customers and stores recycle more packaging waste, including beauty and personal care waste such as pots, bottles and tubs.

The collection points will also allow shoppers to recycle packaging formats which are less commonly taken by household collections, such as wet-wipe packets,  wrappers, and PPE facemasks.

If successful, the supermarket chain has pledged to extend the format to all 498 of its stores across the UK over the next year

All waste collected as part of the trail (which is being run in partnership with Nestle) will be recycled here in the UK and not shipped to other countries for processing.

Store waste will be sorted by staff in storage rooms - including soft and hard plastics, PPE facemasks, as well as tins, cans, foils and cardboard.

Morrisons sustainability procurement director Jamie Winter said: “We believe that we can, at a stroke, enable these trial stores to move from recycling around 27% of their general waste to over 84%, and with a clear line of sight to 100%.”

He added: “All waste collected in our stores will be recycled here in the UK – we will not reprocess anything abroad. If we’re successful, we’ll roll this zero waste store concept out across the UK as fast as we can.”

Praising the move, Helen Bird, strategic technical manager at recycling charity Wrap, said: “Plastic bags and wrappers make up nearly a quarter of all plastic packaging that we use in our daily lives, yet only 6% is recycled.

“Until we have consistent and comprehensive household collections across the nations, supermarkets play a critical role to enable customers to recycle key items not collected at home.”

News of Morrisons’ new scheme comes after Tesco revealed that it was extending its zero-waste shopping service from online to stores to allow people to buy products from major personal care, grocery and household brands in refillable packaging.

Customers in 10 Tesco stores in the east of England can now buy products in reusable packaging that can be returned when finished so it can be cleaned, refilled and used again.

Brands included in the service include major names in personal care such as Simple, Original Source, Carex, Radox and Bulldog.

Asda and The Co-operative Group are also currently trialling a series of new in-store refillable packaging solutions in partnership with Unilever and its Simple, Radox and Alberto Balsam beauty brands.

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