John Lewis launches plastic bag-free trial at Oxford store

YouGov has named John Lewis, Polo Ralph Lauren and HomeSense the brands most recommended by their consumers across the high street retail, fashion and general retail sectors.
YouGov’s Recommend+ product gives marketers the full picture on what drives existing and potential promoters
// John Lewis trials in-store sustainability scheme at Oxford store
// One of the schemes is to eradicate plastic bags, making it the first department store to do this
// There are seven other sustainability practices in place to encourage “reduce, re-use and return” mentality among customers

John Lewis has become the first department store to remove plastic bags after it launched a pilot of a new sustainability scheme at its Oxford store.

The plastic bag removal forms part of eight new sustainability practices that aims to inspire a “reduce, re-use and return” mentality among customers.

As part of the trial, John Lewis is eradicating its 5p plastic bags and encouraging customers to bring a bag, or buy a reusable one instead.

The department store retailer said that over a year, it’s estimated that this alone could save five tonnes of plastic.


The Oxford store will also become the first in the UK to trial a reusable click-and-collect bag made from 100 per cent recycled materials.

Other initiatives include replacing bubble wrap with new recyclable wrapping for china and glass products, a beauty product packaging recycling scheme, encouraging customers to bring back any hangers that can be re-used or recycled, and giving customers the opportunity to reduce carbon emissions by selecting an “eco-delivery” slot for home deliveries at a time when a van will already be near their house.

John Lewis said it would use the Oxford trial to learn how it could expand the initiative to other locations.

“Our customers have told us they want us to help them reduce their impact on the planet and that reducing and recycling packaging is key for them,” John Lewis head of sustainability Stephen Cawley said.

“Our message that we want customers to take away just the product that they love and reduce and reuse the packaging that they don’t will be clearly communicated throughout the shop.

“We will listen to customer feedback on this blueprint before deciding what we should introduce to other shops.”

The full list of eight sustainability initiatives being rolled out and trialled at John Lewis’ Oxford store:

  • Removal of 5p plastic carrier bags
  • Reusable ‘Click & Collect’ packaging
  • Removal and recycling of ‘Click & Collect’ packaging
  • Replacing bubble wrap with new recyclable packaging for china and glass items bought in the shop
  • Eco- home deliveries
  • Recycling unwanted hangers from any brand or retailer
  • BeautyCycle – My John Lewis loyal customers will be invited to recycle up to five of their used beauty products’ packaging in exchange for £5 off their next beauty purchase at John Lewis & Partners
  • Fashion BuyBack – launched earlier this month ‘BuyBack’ rewards customers for bringing back bring up to three items of pre-loved clothing from any of the brands stocked by John Lewis in return for £3 per item

Click here to sign up to Retail Gazette‘s free daily email newsletter


  1. Primark is a clothes store. John Lewis is Department store. But fair play to Primark – hopefully every retailer will follow suit – especially supermarkets.

  2. Paper bags can be devastating for the environment too. Just because paper breaks down much much more easily than plastic doesn’t mean it’s environmentally friendly.

      • They are one time use and so are normally thrown away when they get home. No waste is better than paper waste. The oxford store is moving towards offering reusable fabric bags which come at a 50p cost.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here