A SECOND supermarket chain is trialling ditching unnecessary plastic packaging in Oxfordshire.

Customers at Sainsbury’s Kidlington superstore can now bring their own containers for loose fruit and vegetables or buy a reusable drawstring bag for 30p to take home their produce.

ALSO READ: Waitrose says plastic-free pilot ‘encouraging so far'

Alex Falconer, operations manager at the branch, said: “We’re thrilled to be taking part in the trial.

“The removal of plastic bags is a great example of how a small step can make a big difference.”

He added there had already been a ‘great response’ since the trial launched on Monday and that they were looking forward to seeing the full feedback from shoppers over the coming weeks.

Oxford Mail:

The eco-friendly experiment comes after Waitrose’s Botley Road store launched its own 11-week Unpacked pilot last month.

As well as fruit and veg being set free from containers customers can also get refills on staples like pasta and rice, as well as wine and beer at the Oxford branch.

The store has ‘unpacked’ 208 products, including 160 fruit and vegetables, from plastic wrap.

ALSO READ: Community open plastic-free refill shop

Branch manager Greg Ryan said he had seen more customers coming in specifically to buy items without plastic packaging.

While Waitrose has not yet committed to extending or expanding the scheme, the Sainsbury’s trial, which will also be happening at Lincoln’s superstore until August, is the first step towards removing the bags from stores entirely by September.

The supermarket says this will cut a further 1,284 tonnes of plastic this year on top of its other efforts.

Oxford Mail:

Judith Batchelar, director of Sainsbury’s Brand, said: “We’re pleased to be making a further commitment to our customers as we work with them to offer new ways to reduce unnecessary plastic.

“This is just one of the efforts we are making as a business and we look forward to hearing how our customers respond and adapt throughout the trial.”

The move is part of a range of initiatives the company has launched as part of its efforts to reduce, reuse, replace and recycle more plastic.

Sainsbury’s most recently launched water refill stations at more than 300 stores across the UK as well as a series of recycling trials, which allow customers to return plastic bottles up to three litres and cans bought from their stores in exchange for 5p coupons towards their shop.

ALSO READ: People take their 'pointless plastic' back to Tesco

The supermarket said it is also working alongside the Government and other businesses to support research and innovation in packaging and find long term, sustainable alternatives to plastic.

Outside of the supermarket giants, local unpackaged schemes have been proving popular.

Flo’s Refill Shop opened last month in Florence Park. It sells everything from pasta, oats, and lentils to SESI washing liquids and detergents via reusable containers.

Makena Lohr, co-centre manager, said the idea had come directly from centre users.

Scoop Zero Waste, meanwhile, run monthly pop-ups at the Tap Social in Botley.