British supermarket chain Waitrose has announced its commitment to reduce the use of plastic across its UAE stores.
Starting June 16, Waitrose will be implementing a carrier bag charge of 25fils for all single use plastic bags at five trial stores across Abu Dhabi – Waitrose Etihad Towers, Waitrose Sun and Sky Reem Island, Waitrose Al Zeina, Waitrose Saadiyat Beach Community and Waitrose Eastern Mangroves. Running for 12 weeks until September 8, the new trial will also see Waitrose encouraging shoppers to bring in reusable bags or use the in-store bag exchange, where customers can deposit any used bags for other shoppers to use. The supermarket will welcome any carrier bag from any store, not just its own, in a bid to truly make it as easy as possible for customers to recycle and reuse plastic bags.
As part of its commitment to environmental preservation, Waitrose has renewed its sustainable partnership with Emirates Wildlife Society in association with WWF [EWS-WWF], which was established under the patronage of H.H. Sheikh Hamdan Bin Zayed Al Nahyan to conserve nature and reduce the most pressing threats to the environment for the benefit of society.
All funds raised from the trial will be used to reduce plastics across the business and support local charities and good causes that champion sustainable practices and help create a better future for the community.
Upon completion of the trial, Waitrose will conduct a full analysis of the scheme reviewing data on single use carrier bag reduction, plus qualitative information from its customers. The supermarket will look to roll the initiative out across the rest of its nine stores in the UAE, with plans to also introduce the scheme across the business.
“The challenge around plastic is underway and we want to be the supermarket leading that charge for the retail industry, fostering positive change and helping to create a more sustainable future for generations to come. It’s more important than ever for companies to take responsibility for their part in helping to reduce avoidable plastic waste and we believe that in order to bring about change, we need to help our customers make small shifts in their behaviour, to eventually lead to positive habits,” says Matthew Frost, CEO of Fine Fare Food Market.
“We are delighted to join hands with Waitrose on this key initiative. Through our new partnership, we will raise awareness within the community, encourage more sustainable choices and engage directly with families, guiding them on how small actions can add up to make a big difference. The UAE is a coastal country relying on healthy natural ecosystems. The wellbeing of our environment is important to ensure a thriving economy and in securing our food, water, transport and energy needs. Waitrose’s commitment to building a deeper understanding of how shoppers and retailers can be more sustainable in order to reduce the amount of waste that ends up in nature is encouraging. We hope this is the start of many more projects that will stem the tide of plastic pollution across land and sea,” adds Abdulla Al Nuiami, director of business development & marketing at Emirates Wildlife Society.