Now you can go shopping and take the food containers from home

All Continente, Continente Modelo and Continente Bom Dia stores’ customers can now take their airtight food containers for purchases at the delicatessen and take-away counters, thus avoiding the usual disposable packaging for carrying ready-to-eat food and the delicatessen’s plastic "wrapping". If everyone joins in, savings could reach 210 tonnes of plastic per year – the equivalent of 50 elephants’ weight.

"Bring empty, take full. Reuse your packaging" is the motto of the first initiative of its kind in Portugal, which started last year in pilot mode at Vila do Conde’s Continente Modelo, Vasco da Gama’s Continente and Gaiashopping’s Continente stores, and is now available in all Continente stores.

The Continente brand thus anticipates what is established in Decree-Law No. 102-D/2020: from January 1st, 2022, all commercial establishments will be required to accept containers brought from home by customers (and also to charge fees for disposable take-away packages).

How to use the airtight containers in the supermarket

For uniformity, control and hygiene reasons, the customer's containers must be clean and dry, free from odours, free from residues from previous use and with a functional lid. Glass containers are not accepted, as the potential breakage or damage to the packaging poses increased risks to food safety. Employees of the delicatessen and take-away sections weigh the product inside the container (subtracting the container’s weight) and a label with the respective bar code is pasted on a card created for this purpose, similar to the one used in weighing fruit and vegetables ( 100% recycled paper).

Bring your own containers or buy them at the store

Customers can bring their own containers or even buy any of three airtight containers available for sale in the delicatessen and take-away sections, thus avoiding the unnecessary use of plastic that is usually disposed of (and often not recycled). These have a capacity of 0.5L, 1L or 1.85L, and prices ranging from €1.50 (smallest) to €2.50 (largest).

To promote the habit of reuse, during the month of June, all customers who bring their containers from home will benefit from an immediate 10% discount (upon presentation of the Continente Card) on take-away products from the service counter.



Strategy for the Responsible Use of Plastics

“Continente, as a retail leader in Portugal, has implemented several initiatives that enable customers to adopt more sustainable purchasing processes, using reusable packaging as an alternative to disposable packaging” explains Pedro Lago, Sustainability and Circular Economy Projects Director at Sonae MC.

“Following our strategy for a more responsible use of plastic, we are committed to increasing levels of reuse in our stores. Following this commitment, we set out to be pioneers in all reuse initiatives taking place in Portugal. We currently have reuse processes in place in all our stores, in the Fruits, Vegetables and Bakery sections, that is, customers can bring their bags from home or buy one of those for sale (which were designed for many reuses) and use them in these sections.”

Continente has been implementing several measures within the scope of its Strategy for the Responsible Use of Plastics. In 2020, Continente achieved a savings level of more than 4.2 thousand tonnes of virgin plastic per year. This amount represents a growth of 90% compared to the 2.2 thousand tonnes/year announced in April 2019.

In addition to the tonnes of virgin plastic eliminated (between eliminating plastic considered unnecessary and replacing virgin materials with recycled ones), the brand also replaced 50 tonnes of low recyclability plastic (such as PVC) with other materials that are easier to recycle (such as PET) from its products. Currently, 70% of private label references are already 100% recyclable.

As an active agent in promoting conscientious consumption habits, Continente assumed the commitment to anticipate to 2025, the ambition defined by the European Union for 2030, to reduce (or even eliminate when possible) the use of plastic materials of fossil origin, regarding private label products, ensuring that they all have reusable, recyclable or compostable packaging.

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