As Morrisons announces its trial of paper bags to replace plastic bags for life

Ubamarket’s research reveals the sentiments of British public to plastic waste in retail

  • Over 3 in 4 (77%)people in the UK believe that supermarkets and manufacturers are responsible for unacceptable levels of plastic pollution
  • 42% of the British public want to be more environmentally conscious but feel they do not know enough about recycling and plastic pollution to make informed changes

Will Broome, CEO of Ubamarket, discusses the mobile technology helping retailers and customers alike to cut their plastic waste

It was announced today that Morrisons is starting trials to introduce paper bags as a replacement to plastic bags for life, in an effort to dramatically curb plastic waste.

According to Morrisons’ latest announcement, eight stores will offer strong paper bags in place of bags for life from Monday, and will later look to offer them at all 494 stores subject to strong customer feedback. Morrisons said a full replacement of its bags for life would save 3,510 tonnes of plastic per year.

This is the latest in a number of moves from Britain’s largest grocers and retailers to reduce usage of plastic. A recent study by TetraPak showed that 97% of retailers are making sustainable changes due to consumer demand; food retailers are arguably feeling this pressure more than most, as they contend with growing concerns over food waste as well as the sustainability of their packaging.

This coincides with research from retail tech pioneers Ubamarket, showcasing the consumer sentiment towards plastic waste in Britain:

  • 82% – nearly 43 million –of UK shoppers believe the level of plastic packaging on food and drink products needs to be changed drastically
  • 77% of Brits believe that, no matter how much they recycle, it is the manufacturers and supermarkets that are causing the most plastic pollution
  • 42% of the British public want to be more environmentally conscious but feel they do not know enough about recycling and plastic pollution to make informed changes

In response to this, Ubamarket have launched a ‘Plastic Alerts’ feature to offer retailers and customers alike a solution to combat their sustainability concerns.

The ‘Plastic Alerts’ feature allows shoppers to scan every product in-store for information on the recyclability of any packaging. Customers then receive a “sustainability score” at checkout, to see where they can easily make changes to shop more sustainably.

Ubamarket’s machine learning system also offers personalised discounts on products that each customer shops for the most, and also provides a supermarket “sat-nav”, guiding the customer to each product on their shopping list. This helps customers buy more selectively and in turn reduces excess food and plastic waste.

Will Broome, CEO and Founder of Ubamarket, discusses the importance of sustainability moving forward for Britain’s retailers and provides insight into the role of technology in the movement towards a more sustainable future of retail:

“It’s extremely encouraging to see Morrisons and other large retailers taking major steps towards creating a more sustainable future for the food retail sector, and retail across the board. It is imperative that other retailers take heed of this and work quickly to establish their own sustainability goals and action plan. 

Implementing mobile technology, such as that provided by Ubamarket, is one effective way for retailers to get ahead of the curve – not only can it improve in-store efficiency and provide access to useful data for the retailer, but Ubamarket’s Plastic Alerts feature allows customers to shop according to the recyclability and environmental footprint of different products, and enables the customer to scan packaging for information on whether it can be widely recycled or not. We have also shown that customers spend 21% more on their shop using Ubamarket’s technology, but less of their shopping goes to waste as they purchase more of what they consume most. 

It is my hope that we see more sustainability initiatives in the coming weeks and months, and I would strongly encourage retailers to look into the benefits of mobile technology, for sustainability and increased success.”