Meet our brilliant returnable boxes



At Abel & Cole, we always deliver our delicious produce to your door in reusable cardboard boxes rather than plastic bags. In fact, we estimate that our returnable, reusable, returnable boxes have saved over 65 million plastic bags and counting. Find out why our choice of sustainable packaging is so important.


What's the big deal about plastic carrier bags?

Plastic bags have become something of an environmental hot topic in recent years. It’s absolutely true that plastic products, including bags, now litter our planet in alarming quantities.

Annually, around 500 billion plastic bags are used worldwide, which means that more than 1 million are used every minute! They don’t last long in our hands either. Each plastic carrier bag has an average ‘working life’ of just 15 minutes but can take 20 years to degrade.

According to Jo Ruxton, a former Blue Planet researcher, between 60 and 70% of all plastics find their way into the ocean. This plastic "gets brittle as it gets old and breaks into tiny pieces and mixes into the plankton, which is the heart of the marine food chain". These tiny pieces of plastic, or microplastics, can make their way up the food chain, into the food we eat.

Quote: 1 million plastic bags used every minute

Instead of wasting energy and resources on plastic bags for delivering your weekly order, we do things differently.

How to shop plastic free

Since 1988, we've pioneered a low-plastic approach to life. This is why we only use plastic packaging where absolutely necessary - for example with our chilled goods like meat and fish.

Sustainability is at the heart of everything we do, and we're proud to sustainably deliver specially designed cardboard boxes. Each box is 100% reusable and made to precise specifications to ensure that it's strong enough to be used time and time again. Even the shape of the box has a purpose. On average, each Abel & Cole box is used between five and six times before its life is over, but it can be sent on up to eight trips. As Michelle, our Senior Print Designer, explains "the curves of the lids are designed to align like a jigsaw. This means that when the boxes are cut into shape, we waste the least amount of material possible."

Quote: We waste the least amount

We encourage all of our green community to help us reuse our boxes time and time again. Simply keep our boxes dry, fold them flat after use and put them out for our wonderful delivery drivers to collect on their next visit. If you don't have a covered area for the driver to leave your next box, think about leaving out a bin bag that we can use to protect our boxes and your groceries. The reuse of our boxes saves infinitely more resources and energy than recycling them.

At Abel & Cole, we understand the environmental cost of packaging, making the box that your shop comes in just as important as the contents. Turn your back on plastic bags and embrace the brilliant box.

Published October 2021



We're committed to being transparent about our sustainability commitments. Find out more on our Sustainability Hub, or read more about our packaging on our Packaging FAQs.


Alternate Text
Back to top