Holland & Barrett

The retailer is encouraging suppliers to follow its lead in reducing or ending plastic packaging use

Holland & Barrett has kicked off a long-term goal of stopping use of plastic altogether, the Grocer can reveal.

Its CEO Tony Buffin said it will start the process by discontinuing the sale of plastic bottles, which it is currently looking for alternative materials for.

He said scrapping plastic use was the “next big thing” for the retailer, adding that it is encouraging suppliers to follow its lead on reducing or ending plastic packaging use. This comes as part of the early stages of its drive to become more eco-friendly.

Buffin told the Grocer: “I’m not sure we’ll be able to become completely plastic-free, but that is our longer-term ambition.”

Holland & Barrett is also expanding its clean and conscious beauty proposition with the launch of its first beauty-led store at Birmingham’s Bullring shopping centre. This is designed to encourage customers to shop more sustainably and purchase beauty products in reusable containers.

It kicked off its eco-friendly beauty push last July with a range of sustainable, natural and cruelty-free products free from 240 ingredients including parabens and triclosan it banned across its beauty range.

A spokeswoman for the retailer said: “We are constantly reviewing our ingredients, suppliers and best practices to ensure that they are as sustainable and environmentally friendly as possible. We are still defining our overall CSR strategy and long-term sustainability goals.”

Holland & Barrett also strives to recycle all materials used in its stores, store support centres and distribution centres, as well as promote environmental awareness to its in-store teams.

Buffin added:Sustainability has been at the heart of Holland & Barrett for a long time.”

The retailer scrapped plastic bags in 2009 and introduced a 5p charge for paper bags to encourage customers to ditch single-use bags last October. Profits from this initiative are donated to a range of charities supported by the brand.

It banned plastic bags from its 800 of its stores in 2009, six years before the government’s introduction of the 5p charge, scrapped microplastics from all products in 2012, and stopped selling wet wipes in September 2019.