Pret is looking to trial deposit retun scheme in its Brighton outlets

Pret a Manger CEO Clive Schlee has revealed plans to trial a deposit return scheme in three Brighton stores in April, which could be rolled out across the country by the autumn.

He has suggested implementing a 10p charge per plastic bottle to fund sustainability programmes, while returning the fee to customers who recycle their bottles with one of the Pret team.

“I believe Pret owes it to itself and its customers to take a leading position on the plastics problem. Like many other companies, we have lots to do to improve the reduction and recycling of our packaging,” said Schlee.

“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. 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.

“It will take time to eliminate unnecessary plastic, but I hope this sort of initiative will bring that day forward by drawing attention to the issue and stimulating new ideas. We’ve chosen Brighton because we have three busy shops there and we know the local people are highly attuned to the environment. If it is successful we could extend the scheme across the country during the autumn of 2018.”

Schlee also invited customers to tweet him with feedback about whether the 10p charge was high enough, and if they think this option should be explored further.

More than half (57%) of all plastic bottles in Britain are currently recycled.

This figure is dwarfed by other European countries, such as Denmark and Germany, which have increased their recycling rates to over 90% after introducing bottle deposit return schemes.

Pret’s announcement follows Theresa May’s commitment to eradicate all avoidable plastics by 2042.

In January, she came under pressure to implement a bottle deposit return scheme after Tesco, the Co op and Iceland all backed the move.