Pret a Manger are leading the way with being green in more ways than one.
Earlier this year the veggie/vegan grab-and-go favourites added three new vegan options to their green, veggie fridges, and recently announced that they’d increased their discount from 25p to 50p, for customers who use a reusable coffee cup.
They also introduced water fountains into their Veggie Prets and all Manchester stores, to see if customers would refill bottles, rather than buy new plastic ones.
Now, the high street chain are introducing a plastic water bottle buyback scheme, where they’ll add 10p onto the price of each bottle of Pret water, and give it back to customers when they hand the bottle back in for recycling.
Clive Schlee, Pret’s CEO, announced the plans in a blog post yesterday, saying the amount of plastic water bottles he saw washed up on the shore in a quiet part of Hong Kong pushed him into doing something.
‘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,’ he writes.
‘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.’
Schlee says that countries like Denmark and Germany have seen recycling rates increase after introducing bottle deposit schemes.
Pret’s scheme will be trialled in Brighton’s three shops, from April, before potentially being rolled out elsewhere in autumn.
The problem with this scheme is that is relies on people either finishing their water in store, and then queuing up to get their 10p back, or keeping hold of their water bottle so they can hand it into a Pret store. Will people bother?
It really does seem like a cunning way to push people towards reusable water bottles – although we’re not sure 10p is enough to sway people.
And neither is Schlee – so he’s inviting customers to give him their feedback via Twitter.
Only time will tell.