M&S has stepped-up its commitment to reduce its use of plastic packaging with the announcement that it is rolling out a new ‘BYOB’ – Bring Your Own Bag – click & connect initiative to 251 of its stores.
The initiative takes away the need for the traditional plastic carrier across online orders that are picked and packed at the collection store by asking customers to bring their own bag. M&S is the first large retailer to adopt this approach which will save 10 million units of plastic annually.
The roll-out follows a successful trial at 16 M&S stores with customers reminded at point of checkout to bring their own bag when coming into store to collect an order placed online – customers are then reminded again when notified that their order is ready to collect. Over the course of seven months, 39,347 orders were fulfilled this way, removing over 109 thousand units of plastic and customers praising the approach as ‘simple and straightforward’ and an easy way to help them reduce their own plastic consumption.
More than 60% of customers opt for click & collect – that’s over 15 million orders annually and, of those orders, 25% are picked and packed in the customer’s chosen collection store – the equivalent of four million parcels. Over the next few months, all click & collect orders that are picked and packed at the customer’s collection store will be provided without a plastic carrier – with the ambition to expand the initiative to all click & collect orders in the longer-term.
Stephen Langford, Director of M&S.com, said: “Using our stores to fulfil click & collect orders continues to grow and we want to use this as a channel to encourage a behaviour change that helps to reduce unnecessary packaging waste. During trial phase, we had great feedback from customers as they saw it as a simple action that, collectively, can make a big difference.”
Whilst waiting for customer collection, orders are stored and protected in a reusable bag made from 100% recycled materials. The initiative is one of the many ways M&S is moving towards its target of removing 75 million units of plastic packaging in its Clothing & Home business.
- In Clothing & Home, M&S has removed 60m units of plastic since 2018
- In Womenswear, M&S has removed the plastic covers from the 500,000 cashmere jumpers it sells each year and saved 1.5m pieces of plastic by moving from a single hanger with a size pip to a 2pp waterfall hanger in its women’s leggings and joggers range
- In Menswear, M&S removed 72,640 pieces of plastic from men’s merino and cashmere scarves and in spring 2022, launched new formal shirts in the Sartorial range with the reduced plastics by removing outer bags, replacing internal plastic clips with more sustainable options, and removing the spare plastic collar stays
- In Lingerie, 5m pieces of plastic in women’s knickers by choosing to display products on a table instead of hangers and 598,025 pieces of plastic have been removed from across all 2pp and 3pp ladies’ socks
- In Home, M&S has started to remove 3.2m units of plastic from its bedding and removed 360,000 pieces of plastic from bathmats. The protective plastic in cutlery sets has also been replaced with lightweight tissues – removing a further 259,000 units of plastic
As part of M&S ‘future of ecommerce packaging’ programme, the retailer is trialling a number of other innovative online order packaging solutions – for both home delivery and click and collect – at any one time. The programme, alongside the latest initiative, has seen the roll out of:
- The green bag used to package products is made from 100% recycled plastic and is fully recyclable via M&S’ plastic takeback scheme in store – which accepts all types of plastic that some local authorities will not collect
- A switch to paper tape – instead of plastic – on cardboard boxes – saving 2,781,000 metres annually
- 100% recyclable cardboard boxes that can be put in at-home recycling bins
- Mobile-friendly paperless customer returns and receipts – saving 205 tonnes of paper every year.