Climate Action

John Lewis Partnership announces new plastic waste programme

John Lewis Partnership has selected four businesses for the sustainable programme to help reduce plastic waste by reusing and reducing food, liquid and postal packaging.

  • 05 October 2018
  • Rachel Cooper

John Lewis Partnership has selected four businesses for the sustainable programme to help reduce plastic waste by reusing and reducing food, liquid and postal packaging.

Over 100 start-up companies submitted their proposals to the John Lewis Partnership programme. This was shortlisted down to ten candidates who presented ideas about sustainable materials, plastic-free products and alternative packaging to a panel made up of eight judges.

This is the first time that JLAB, John Lewis Partnership's unique retail innovation programme, has focused on plastic waste and sustainability to work towards a goal previously set to have all own-label packaging be widely recyclable, reusable or compostable by 2025.

CupClub™, an innovative returnable packaging service for drinks that helps retailers reduce single-use plastic packaging by providing trackable products and utilising RFID technology, was chosen out of the four businesses and will now be trialled.

The three remaining businesses, Cuantec, Repack and Replenish, will explore their options with John Lewis to see how they can potentially work with the Partnership on more sustainable innovations.

Benet Northcote, Director of Corporate Responsibility at the John Lewis Partnership and one of the pitch day judges, 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.”

Waitrose and Partners have signed the UK Plastics Pact, and so far they have removed 65 per cent of black plastic packaging from fruit and vegetables. They have also committed to removing all plastic bags in stores by March 2019 with a compostable alternative.

The UK Plastics Pact, created by WRAP UK, is a collaborative initiative aimed at creating a circular economy for plastics. It involves governments, businesses, local authorities and NGOs to transform the UK plastics system.

Photograph: Waitrose