Blog by Clive Schlee, CEO of Pret
11th October 2017
Plastic bottles are a problem. We all feel it even before we hear the shocking statistics about millions of tonnes ending up in our oceans each year and imagine the devastating impact this has on marine wildlife.
Pret has always tried to lead on food waste – we’ve been donating our unsold food to the homeless every night since our first shop opened more than 30 years ago. We are making inroads on the problem of packaging waste by reducing where we can and making more of it recyclable. This includes working to find a solution to the fiendish coffee cup problem. We recognise we have lots to do.
Plastic bottles present a real challenge and there are two schools of thought within Pret. The passionate environmentalists say stop selling them altogether, while the pragmatists say make it as easy as you can for customers to use fewer plastic bottles. We are looking carefully at both options. I tend towards the pragmatist end myself.
Starting today, all three Veggie Pret shops (extending to our Manchester shops by the end of the month) will be encouraging customers to fill up their bottles for free using new filtered water stations. These shops will also start selling two sizes of reusable glass bottles alongside our regular water bottles, so the choice is clear. The aim is to understand if customers will choose to refill a bottle rather than buying a new plastic one.
The trial of reusable bottles and taps in our Veggie Pret and Manchester shops is just the start of Pret trying to do more when it comes to packaging. As always, I welcome your views on what we can do to make the most impact in this area.
Have you or would you make the switch to a reusable bottle? Is there still a place for plastic bottles or can we do without them entirely?