Tesco has launched a trial allowing customers to buy products from shower gel to sugar in reusable packaging.
The move by Britain’s biggest supermarket is part of its strategy to cut plastic waste – a scourge that has been highlighted by high-profile coverage such as Sky’s Ocean Rescue.
Tesco’s launch will allow customers to buy food, drink, household and beauty products in packaging that can be returned to stores when finished, so it can be cleaned, refilled and used again.
A range of 88 products will be offered, including brands such as Persil laundry detergent, Radox shower gel, Carex handwash, Fevertree drinks, Heinz ketchup, Coca-Cola, Tetley tea, and Brewdog beer; as well as 35 Tesco own-brand essentials, such as pasta, rice, sugar and oil.
The trial is being carried out in partnership with Loop, the global reusable packaging platform, at 10 Tesco stores in eastern England
Asda, Marks & Spencer, Morrisons and Waitrose have all trialled similar concepts.
Tesco said it would add more products to its scheme throughout the year, and the trial would be scaled-up if it proved successful.
Chief executive Ken Murphy said: “We are determined to tackle plastic waste, and one of the ways we can help is by improving reuse options available to customers.
“We’ll learn as much as we can from this to inform our future packaging plans.”
The initiative follows a year-long online pilot scheme that was launched last year.
Tesco said prices for the contents of each item would be comparable to the original.
Customers will pay a deposit – starting at 20p – on each reusable packaging product at the check-out, refunded via an app when it is returned to a collection point in store.
The launch came as rival Waitrose said it was aiming to eliminate 40 million single-use plastic bags per year by removing them from deliveries and in-store collections.
It is also scrapping its 10p “bags for life” from all major stores, to be replaced with a 50p reusable bag that is said to be twice as durable, is made from recycled materials, and is fully recyclable.
Waitrose said its research showed 10p bags were increasingly being used only once and not multiple times as intended.
The changes will come into effect from 27 September.
Waitrose previously removed all 5p plastic bags from stores in 2019.