Pret trials deposit scheme to eliminate unnecessary plastic from stores

Pret A Manager has revealed plans to trial a deposit return scheme for plastic bottles as it looks to play its part in cutting waste from its stores.

The company is proposing that it adds 10p to the cost of drinks in plastic bottles, but will return the money for each unit that is returned. It intends to trial the initiative in its Brighton shops in April.

CEO Clive Schlee explained: “The idea is that we would add 10p to all plastic bottles and return 10p for each Pret bottle given back to our teams to recycle. The aim is to understand how many bottles are returned and to see if it encourages more customers to opt for a reusable bottle.

“We will of course reinvest any unclaimed deposits in future sustainability work. It will take time to eliminate unnecessary plastic, but I hope this sort of initiative will bring that day forward by drawing attention to the issue and stimulating new ideas.”

Mr Schlee said the chain, which numbers 550 shops, is keen to see how the Brighton trial plays out.

“We’ve chosen Brighton because we have three busy shops there and we know the local people are highly attuned to the environment. If it is successful we could extend the scheme across the country during the autumn of 2018,” he revealed.

It is estimated that just over half of the bottles that are sold in Britain are recycled. Meanwhile, countries such as Denmark and Germany have seen rates of recycling grow to more than 90% after introducing deposit return schemes.

Mr Schlee said Pret is interested to hear what customers have to say about the proposed scheme and whether they feel it is a step in the right direction.

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