Waitrose and launches exclusive reusable Emma Bridgewater shopping bag made from recycled plastic bottles by Jutexpo

Friday 27th July 2018

In a first to market, Waitrose has joined forces with Jutexpo - a leading manufacturer of reusable bags - and designer Emma Bridgewater, to create a reusable bag made entirely of recycled plastic bottles, raising money for The Prince’s Countryside Fund.

With the launch of the exclusive Emma Bridgewater designed bags, the supermarket 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.” 

Notes to editors

*In April 2018, the supermarket announced all Waitrose own label packaging will be widely recyclable (using the wide recycled logo), reusable or home compostable by 2025. 

September 2016 saw Waitrose become the first supermarket to stop selling items containing microbeads, and the retailer sells only paper stem cotton buds.

Since 2009 , Waitrose has reduced its overall packaging by nearly 50% and 80% of its packaging is widely recyclable. The retailer will stop using black plastic packaging from its own-label range from the end of 2019. 65% of black plastic has already been removed from fruit and veg and black plastic will be completely removed from fruit and veg, meat and fish by the end of this year. The retailer will not sell packs of single use plastic straws from September 2019 and will start switching plastic straws to paper from the end of April 2018. The supermarket will remove all take-away disposable coffee cups from its shops by autumn 2018, saving more than 52 million cups a year and all Waitrose cafes offer non-plastic crockery and drinks stirrers are made out of wood. Waitrose is currently switching from plastic to paper straws and will not sell packs of single use plastic straws from September 2019. 

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 project also ties in with Emma Bridgewater’s environmental aim as President of the Campaign to Protect Rural England (CPRE) and builds on the industry leading steps Waitrose has already taken to reduce the impact of plastic on the environment.* 

The Prince’s Countryside Fund was established by HRH The Prince of Wales in 2010 and aims to enhance the prospects of family farm businesses and the quality of rural life. The Prince’s Countryside Fund believe that the British countryside is our most valuable natural asset and its contribution to our everyday life cannot be underestimated.

To help support and secure the future of the countryside, The Prince’s Countryside Fund:

  • Provide more than £1.2m each year in grant funding to projects across the UK thanks to support from our partners, events and donations
  • Celebrate and promote the value of the countryside
  • Lead projects to strengthen farm businesses, such as The Prince’s Farm Resilience Programme
  • Commission research into issues affecting farming families and rural communities
  • Bring together individuals and businesses to help tackle current challenges
  • Help communities in crisis through an Emergency Fund 

To find out more, visit the Fund’s website at www.princescountrysidefund.org.uk


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