"This gives a fantastic use and purpose for one of the worlds most formidable sources of post-consumer plastic, bottles. Ultimately this halts the bottles to going into landfill."
Sam Turner, compliance director at Jutexpo
With the launch of exclusive Emma Bridgewater designed bags, Waitrose and Jutexpo will be reusing half a million bottles in total.
The bags are made from a fabric using 100% recycled plastic bottles and are the first to have the integrity of certification to the Global Recycled Standard (GRS).
Each bag is created using the material from seven plastic bottles, in a process which turns the plastic into a durable and practical fabric called rPet fabric, short for recycled polyethylene terephthalate, which looks like a jute bag with a wipe clean coating.
The supermarket expects that a number of reusable Waitrose shopping bags will be designed using the same material in the future, turning over one million plastic bottles into shopping bags.
The design features Emma’s iconic polka dots and comes in two summery colours, a bright and bold purple and a classic cream & lilac. Also part of the range are four new fold-away pouch bags, also made from recycled plastic bottles, featuring classic Emma Bridgewater designs.
Both types of bag will be available in Waitrose shops from Wednesday 20th June, with 10% of the retail price from each bag going to The Prince’s Countryside Fund, to support projects across the UK that help provide a secure future for the countryside. The juco style bags are priced at £5 and the pouch bags will be £4.
Worcestershire-based Jutexpo is the world’s biggest supplier of reusable jute and juco bags, with sales topping 65 million bags since the company was formed in 2002.
The company’s jute bag production rose from 5.5million bags per year before the English plastic bag tax was introduced to 8.5million in the year of the bag tax and 7million a year since.
It operates to the Jutexpo Standard, a set of the 10 key elements it considers to be the minimum when it comes to ethical and technical standards, awards and credentials.
Says Waitrose Buyer, Karen Stenton, “Waitrose is continually looking for innovative ways to cut plastic waste and we realise this is just as important to our shoppers, who are extremely interested in tackling these pressing environmental challenges too.
“Reusable jute bags are extremely popular with our customers, and the fact this bag uses recycled material will make it even more appealing to them. It means that they are not only being kind to the environment by purchasing a reusable bag, but are also contributing to the reduction of plastic in the environment while supporting a worthwhile charity with their purchase.”
Emma Bridgewater comments, “I am thrilled to launch these shopping bags made from recycled plastic water bottles. Recent campaigns have shown how vital it is that we all help to manage this situation responsibly to make sure our environment is not negatively impacted.
“I hope that Waitrose shoppers will enjoy these super-light and useful bags; and that they will serve as a positive daily reminder to recycle plastic wherever possible.”
Claire Saunders, Director of The Prince’s Countryside Fund says, “We’re delighted to be working with Waitrose, Emma Bridgewater, and Jutexpo on this innovative product. We have been very grateful for Waitrose’s continuing support over the past eight years, which in turn has aided the Fund in delivering help to hundreds of farming families and rural communities across the UK, ensuring that our countryside continues to thrive.”
Sam Turner, compliance director at Jutexpo, said: “This project takes the plastic from bottles and gives it another useful purpose after its life as a bottle has ended. Waitrose was Jutexpo’s first ever customer when we began producing and supplying reusable bags 15 years ago and the relationship we have with them has been key to understanding the issues around plastic bottles and the ways in which they can be repurposed in a meaningful way.
“This gives a fantastic use and purpose for one of the world’s most formidable sources of post-consumer plastic, bottles. Ultimately this halts the bottles to going into landfill, incineration and uncontrollable waste streams.”