One week after Ocado announced it would cut waste by putting use-by dates on its website and receipts, Waitrose Deliver has upped the green stakes. The retailer has this week become the first online operation to use pedal power to deliver groceries to the homes of its customers.

Employees at the branch in Cambridge will make deliveries using a bicycle and trailer in a move designed to increase the number of delivery slots available for online customers without increasing the number of vans on the road. The scheme is a trial and is being limited to houses within 15 miles of the branch. In case the delivery cyclists get tired, the bikes have electronic power assistance to ease the strain.

“Waitrose is committed to saving energy and minimising its impact on the environment,” said retail director Tony Solomons.