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John Lewis invests in plastic reduction

The John Lewis partnership has enlisted four companies focused on reducing plastic waste into its JLAB retail innovation programme.

More than 100 companies submitted proposals, of which four have been chosen, further demonstrating the partnership’s commitments as a signatory of the UK Plastics Pact.

One of those chosen, RePack, will explore how the business could work on implementing its reusable and returnable ecommerce mail packaging service. The Finnish company is already working with other fashion retailers including Filippa K, Makia and Mud Jeans.

CupClub, a returnable packaging service for drinks, was chosen to begin a trial of their service in stores.

Cuantec, which turns natural waste materials into compostable food packaging and reusable and refillable bottles maker, Replenish, were also selected for their solutions in reducing plastic in food and drink packaging.

Being a part of the JLAB programme will give the companies access to expert advice from the John Lewis Partnership, customer panels and data, as well as a chance to launch trials and possible financial investment. The recipients were selected by a panel of eight judges made up of senior leaders from the retailer and experts in the fields of sustainability and investment.

One of the judges, Benet Northcote, director of corporate responsibility at the John Lewis Partnership, said: “It was fantastic to see so much energy from a range of businesses innovating to solve the global plastic problem. We’re passionate about creating a sustainable future for the retail sector and that means changing the way we all use and view plastic. The businesses we’ve selected are truly disruptive and will help towards our own ambitious targets.”

John Lewis has previously announced a commitment to making all of its own-label packaging widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2025. Other initiatives within the department store chain include new carrier bags made from 70% recycled material and bags for their Click & Collect service also now contain at least 50% recycled content. They are also working the minimise waste from plastic hangers.

Readers' comments (4)

  • Maybe if John Lewis switched from using plastic bags to paper bags that would help.
    Sorry JL but there have been a number of times I’ve left your store empty handed because you want to charge me for a bag. SWITCH TO PAPER.

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  • Why did Waitrose wait for a change in the law before charging for bags? The brand is strong enough to be a leader and not a follower. And the same applies to those wretched '3 for' offers.

    Whatever government does is too slow, especially in the current environment. Responsible businesses must think and act ahead of public policy. And this is not just about giving capitalism a better reputation, but also about enhancing ones own brand's value.

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  • It’s hardly a committed investment unless something is actually done beyond this competition. Good PR. Weak reality.

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  • darren hoggett

    We switched to paper bags way before the law was changed because it is simply a much nicer product than a horrible, dated plastic bag. If an Indie can do it, then multiples have no excuses.

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