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Bring Your Own Containers

Save the planet while you’re saving your hard earned cash. BYO containers are now welcome at North Island PAK'nSAVE stores!

Posted on: 13 May 2019
From June 1 2019 you can save the planet while you’re saving your hard earned cash. BYO containers are now welcome at North Island PAK'nSAVE stores! Bring your own clean, leak-proof containers to use at our butchery, seafood, bakery and delicatessen counters. It’s just one of the loads of things we’re doing to reduce waste and look after New Zealand.
BYO – how it will work
  1. Check your containers are leak-proof then clean and dry them before you head into your local PAK'nSAVE.  At this time the service is available only in North Island stores.
  2. Hand your containers to our friendly staff at the counter who will weigh the container before adding your chosen steak, ham, fresh pastries or snapper.
  3. They’ll label and seal your containers with a barcode for scanning at the checkout.

Note: we take our food safety responsibilities very seriously, so containers for deli products will be given an extra clean at the counter.  Why? Because the product is more sensitive and likely to be consumed without being cooked.  Baked goods aren’t affected in the same way.

Our Group Manager Regulatory Services Mark Casey says, “We’ve run successful trials to work out the best way to help our customers bring their own containers.  It’s not as simple as it looks.  We take our responsibilities as a retailer of food very seriously – food safety is a top priority, so making sure our customers’ groceries aren’t compromised through poor hygiene is very important.”

The service is only available at counter departments in store at this point.  This is for two key reasons; a. it means the store can give containers the onceover and make sure they are fit for purpose and clean, and b. that the weight of the container is subtracted from the weight of the product being purchased.

“Many people don’t realise that products must be sold minus the cost packaging might add to a product.  That’s why we restrict BYO to counters where we can subtract the weight of the container and produce a price label that accounts for the cost of the product only,” says Casey.  This means that for now products from bulk bins are not included. 

Encouraging customers to reuse containers is just one of the many initiatives PAK'nSAVE has underway to make a difference. We’ve given away millions of reusable shopping bags, we encourage customers to bring reusable produce bags, we’re trialling home compostable produce bags and now we’re inviting people to bring their own containers.  It all adds up to reducing waste in the environment.

So, wash and dry your containers and bring them in to any PAK'nSAVE store in the North Island and give it a go from 1st June.


  • Can I use my own containers for hot food?
    Yes, you can!  Our deli team would be happy to help you.
  • Can I do this with online shopping?
    No, not right now. This is available instore only at the moment as we do not have the capability to exchange or hold on to customer containers.
  • How is this safe?
    We have an obligation to our customers in regard to food safety. Our responsibility under the Food Safety Act requires that we must manage the risk at all times and for deli goods that are unlikely to be cooked before consumption, the cleaning process of the container is very important. We understand that doing this may mean you have to wait a few minutes, but you’ll be doing your bit to reduce plastic waste!
  • Is there a limit to how many times I can use my container?
    No – as long as it’s clean and leak-proof you are good to go.
  • How will you clean containers instore?
    We will use a combination of commercial dishwashers, thorough handwashing and drying and a sanitiser, depending on the store. In the food industry, sanitisers are routinely used to disinfect containers to prevent foodborne illness. 
  • Will those who don’t use BYO container be charged more at the deli?
  • Will those who bring BYO container get a discount?
    Not at this point.
  • Why not grease proof paper?
    Paper is not always the best solution – and it’s just another form of packaging we can do without. BYO is all about reducing waste and focusing on reusable containers.
  • What types of stickers will be used?
    Will these be easy to get off? We’ll be using the same price stickers we always have.  One way to remove the labels to ensure your container is ready to go again, is to leave it soaking in hot soapy water and then gently scrape it off. This also ensures you clean your container!  Our team will only accept a container with no sticker.
  • What options are available for when you forget your container?
    This is about giving customers a choice.  If you want to use BYO you can, if not, we’ll use instore packaging.  We are working on a range of projects to ensure that we are environmentally sustainable and have committed to 100% of our packaging instore is reusable, recyclable or compostable by 2025.
  • What if people do not want to bring their own?
    The easier we make it for people to change their habits, the more people will get on board.  It’s all about giving our customers choice.  
  • Will this mean that any food poisoning claims will be void?
    It’s a rare event!  If any customer has an issue like this, it will be investigated in the same robust way we always have. This is a partnership with our customers who want to use BYO and they need to take responsibility for their containers.
  • Why not the South Island?
    Our North Island stores have chosen to roll this out, while our South Island stores are doing other amazing things like “food in the nude” which is a project to remove packaging for produce. The teams in the South Island are watching with interest.
  • How long will I have to wait for my container to be washed is that’s needed?
    This should take a couple of minutes – but it's important to do the right thing.
  • Can a customer put a Post-it note, paper or masking tape on the lid before the price sticker?
    No, that’s not possible.  We need to ensure the sticker is firmly attached to your container, as much for you, as for us to ensure you're being charged for the right product.
  • Can you redesign your trolleys to accommodate the bags and containers we need to bring with us?
    We already have hooks on the trolleys and there are at least two sizes of trolley available. 
  • Will our container be accepted if last week’s sticker is still on there?
    Our team will only accept a sticker-free container. We'd hate to charge you for the wrong thing!
  • Can you change your stickers to something recyclable and easier to remove?
    It's important they are firmly attached to make sure you're charged for the right product.