John Lewis & Partners tests blueprint to encourage customers to ‘reduce, reuse and return’ packaging

John Lewis & Partners has launched a major pilot at its Oxford shop to encourage a ‘reduce, reuse & return’ culture among customers which could provide a blueprint for other shops. 

The pilot will test eight ways in which the retailer and its customers can reduce their impact on the planet, potentially saving thousands of tonnes of plastic and packaging from going to landfill.   

In a first for a department store, the shop has removed 5p plastic carrier bags to reduce the amount of plastic it produces.  The retailer will encourage customers to bring a bag, or buy a reusable one instead. Over a year it’s estimated that this alone could save 5,000 tonnes of plastic.   

The Oxford shop will also become the first in the UK to trial a reusable ‘Click and Collect’ bag made from 100% recycled materials.  One in four orders will be delivered to the shop in these reuseable bags, meaning customers will be handed their orders without any additional packaging. Partners will offer to keep and recycle the cardboard and single use plastic bags used to transport other ‘Click and Collect’ orders.

In place of bubble wrap the retailer will trial new recyclable wrapping for china and glass products bought in the shop. The retailer will also be encouraging customers to bring back any hangers they no longer need, so they can be reused or recycled. 

As well as reducing the amount of packaging it gives out John Lewis Oxford will reward ‘my John Lewis’ customers who bring back empty beauty product packaging and pre-loved clothing with gift vouchers.  The beauty product recycling scheme named ‘BeautyCycle’ was tested earlier this year and this week is being permanently introduced to 36 John Lewis shops which have a Beauty Department. 

Customers booking home deliveries with a shop Partner will be offered the chance to  help reduce carbon emissions and traffic by selecting an ‘Eco-delivery’ slot when a van would be near their home.

Stephen Cawley, Partner and  Head of Sustainability at John Lewis said: “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.  

“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. 

“We will listen to customer feedback on this blueprint before deciding what we should introduce to other shops.”

List of the eight sustainable initiatives being trialled in the Oxford shop:

  1. Removal of 5p plastic carrier bags
  2. Reusable ‘Click & Collect’ packaging
  3. Removal and recycling of ‘Click & Collect’ packaging
  4. Replacing bubble wrap with new recyclable packaging for china and glass items bought in the shop
  5. Eco- home deliveries
  6. Recycling unwanted hangers from any brand or retailer
  7. BeautyCycle – My John Lewis loyal customers will be invited to recycle up to five of their used beauty products’ packaging in exchange for £5 off their next beauty purchase at John Lewis & Partners
  8. Fashion BuyBack – launched earlier this month ‘BuyBack’ rewards customers for bringing back bring up to three items of pre-loved clothing from any of the brands stocked by John Lewis in return for £3 per item

The new trials are a continuation of John Lewis & Partners’ commitment to sustainability.  The retailer already offers mattress recycling and Sofa Takeback services. Last year, the retailer worked with third parties to collect and reuse over 27,000 used electrical products, and recycle approximately 2,000 used sofas and 55,000 mattresses.  

John Lewis & Partners has committed to making all of it own brand product packaging either easily recyclable or reusable by 2023. 

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