Plastics and packaging
We're ELIMINATING unnecessary PLASTICS
In 2021 Waitrose topped the Greenpeace plastic footprint league of UK supermarkets for the second time in a row. But we know there’s more to do. We're continuing to remove unnecessary packaging in our supply chain where we can, and introduce alternative materials to make recycling easier.
We've switched to clear caps on our milk bottles, because unlike coloured ones, they can be recycled back into food grade packaging.
Our pledge that all own-brand packaging will be reusable or made from widely recyclable or home-compostable material, has been brought forward by two years to 2023. So far, 86% of our own-brand packaging meets that goal.
In 2019, we reduced plastic packaging by 4%, and the volume of all packaging by 2.6% despite an increase in sales. That progress builds on past achievements: between 2009 and 2016, we reduced our packaging by almost 45%. We're also removing single-use plastic bags – find out more here.
MEET the partner
“Making sure our packaging works and is fit for purpose is just part of my job. The other part is ensuring we meet our targets for making it as environmentally friendly as we can," says Karen Graley, packaging innovation manager for Waitrose. "We’ve pledged that by 2023, all our own-label packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable, so we’re working with our suppliers and packaging manufacturers, looking at alternatives to plastics. We get suggestions from customers too, and we read everything – you never know where a good idea might come from.
Karen Graley is leading the mission to reduce single-use plastics in our packaging
‘We get suggestions from customers, and we read them all – you never know where a good idea might come from'
“It’s an ambitious target. Every time we change a piece of packaging, we have to make sure that it’ll work as well as the old one. It can take a year before we get to the final stage, sending a mock-up on the journey from the producer to the store. But it’s exciting – there’s never been a better time to be doing this job. My proudest moments are when I see new packaging on shelves and customers looking at it and picking it up. I don’t think I’ll ever stop getting a kick out of that.”