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Marks & Spencer launches 'Bring Your Own Bag' click & collect to cut plastic waste

Lauretta Roberts
28 February 2023

Marks & Spencer aims to eliminate the use of 10 million units of plastic annually by becoming the first major retailer to launch a 'Bring Your Own Bag' (BYOB) click & collect initiative.

The initiative, which is being rolled out to 251 stores, removes the need for the traditional plastic carrier for online orders that are picked and packed at the collection store by asking customers to bring their own bag.

BYOB click & collect has been trialled at 16 stores with customers reminded at checkout to bring a bag with them to collect their item in-store. Customers are then reminded again when notified that their order is ready to collect.

Over the course of seven months, 39,347 orders were fulfilled this way, removing more than 109,000 units of plastic and M&S said customers had praised the approach as ‘simple and straightforward’ and an easy way to help them reduce their own plastic consumption.

More than 60% of M&S online shoppers opt for click & collect representing 15 million orders annually and, of those orders, around 25% are picked and packed in the customer’s local store – the equivalent of four million parcels.

Over the next few months, all click & collect orders that are picked and packed at the local collection store will be provided to the customer without a plastic carrier – with the ambition to expand the initiative to all click & collect orders in the longer-term.

Stephen Langford, Director of M&, said: Using our stores to fulfil click & collect orders continues to grow and we want to use this as a channel to encourage a behaviour change that helps to reduce single use plastic consumption. During trial phase, we had great feedback from customers as they saw it as a simple action that, collectively, can make a big difference.”

While waiting for customer collection, orders are stored and protected in a reusable bag made from 100% recycled materials.

Marks & Spencer

Items are stored in a reusable bag made from recycled materials before collection

BYOB is the latest step to be taken by Marks & Spencer as it aims to eliminate 75 million units of plastic packaging in its Clothing & Home business; since 2018 it has already removed 60 million units. Other key steps include:

  • In Womenswear, M&S has removed the plastic covers from the 500,000 cashmere jumpers it sells each year and saved 1.5m pieces of plastic by moving from a single hanger with a size pip to a 2pp waterfall hanger in its women’s leggings and joggers range
  • In Menswear, M&S removed 72,640 pieces of plastic from men’s merino and cashmere scarves and in spring 2022, launched new formal shirts in the Sartorial range with the reduced plastics by removing outer bags, replacing internal plastic clips with more sustainable options, and removing the spare plastic collar stays
  • In Lingerie, 5m pieces of plastic in women’s knickers by choosing to display products on a table instead of hangers and 598,025 pieces of plastic have been removed from across all 2pp and 3pp ladies’ socks
  • In Home, M&S has started to remove 3.2m units of plastic from its bedding and removed 360,000 pieces of plastic from bathmats. The protective plastic in cutlery sets has also been replaced with lightweight tissues – removing a further 259,000 units of plastic

As part of M&S ‘future of e-commerce packaging’ programme, the retailer is also trialling a number of other innovative online order packaging solutions – for both home delivery and click and collect – at any one time. The programme, alongside the latest initiative, has seen the roll out of:

  • The green bag used to package products is made from 100% recycled plastic and is fully recyclable via M&S’ plastic takeback scheme in store – which accepts all types of plastic that some local authorities will not collect
  • A switch to paper tape – instead of plastic – on cardboard boxes – saving 2,781,000 metres annually
  • 100% recyclable cardboard boxes that can be put in at-home recycling bins
  • Mobile-friendly paperless customer returns and receipts – saving 205 tonnes of paper every year.

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