Marks & Spencer have become the first major UK retailer to allow customers to bring reusable containers for food-to-go. The company have introduced the incentive in a bid to crackdown on single-use plastic by allowing people to bring their own containers to M&S’ Market Place stores. They will then get a 25p discount off each meal. The offer is already in place for customers wanting to bring their own cups for coffee and tea, but this is the first time that Market Place stores have introduced containers as part of the initiative.“Our priority is to reduce single-use packaging and ensure any we do use can be reused or recycled, as we work towards our 2022 target for all our packaging to be widely recyclable," said Paul Willgoss, director of food technology.
"Food-to-go is a growing market; so finding solutions in this space is an important part of our wider plan."Our Market Place containers are already widely recyclable, but we want to go a step further with the introduction of an incentive to encourage customers to switch to reusable containers.”M&S Market Place is currently available in 23 stores in London, Newcastle, Manchester and other locations. The retailer has estimated that over 70,000 people in the UK buy their lunch in the Market Place each week, meaning that the amount of waste generated by the store should be dropping significantly. Trewin Restorick, CEO and founder of environmental charity Hubbub, commended the move, saying that people are "rightly concerned" about the environmental impact of single-use packaging."It is massively encouraging to see M&S become the first major retailer to offer customers a financial saving encouraging them to make an important change to their shopping habits," he said."We hope customers will respond positively and other retailers will follow this lead.”M&S currently don't have any stores with Market Place counters in Ireland, however, they are looking at introducing the concept in the future.