Innovating in packaging
We've cut our packaging by nearly 50%
In July we announced a commitment that will make a major impact on the use of plastic in our packaging. By 2025 all our own-label packaging will be widely recyclable (using the widely recycled logo), reusable, or home compostable.
We believe there is a role that recyclable plastic can play with some products - to protect during transportation and to prevent food waste, which is why we are not planning to remove it entirely from our ranges.
Our commitment is a stretching target, but we are determined to achieve it through a mix of innovation and working with suppliers to change how we package the products we sell.
The impact of packaging on the environment is something we all care about. At Waitrose cutting down on our use of plastic has been a focus for us and we've reduced our packaging by nearly 50 per cent since 2009.
We’ve also been industry pioneers on a number of things - becoming the first supermarket to stop selling products containing plastic microbeads following our announcement in September 2016. And we led the way by moving exclusively to cotton buds with paper stems, not plastic. Both these are types of plastic which can end up in our seas, so these actions are important. Last summer, we introduced more easily recyclable sandwich wrappers - the first in the market with removable plastic liners.
One of the biggest ways we can make an impact is to stop using black plastic trays in our packaging as this type of plastic is hard to recycle.
We’ve set a deadline to completely phase out black plastic from all own label products by the end of 2019. This will be a big step to helping us achieve our broader 2025 commitment for all packaging to be widely recyclable.
So far we’ve removed 65% of our black plastic packaging in fresh fruit and vegetables. By the end of 2018 we will have completely removed it from our fruit and vegetable ranges, and meat, poultry and fish ranges.
Alternatives to plastic
We are also working with our suppliers and packaging manufacturers to develop and source alternatives to plastic. We're currently trialling two own-label Italian ready meals in wood fibre based trays with a purpose made coating, which replaces the black plastic they're normally in.
We have committed that by September 2018 we will have removed all packs of disposable drinking straws from sale in our branches, replacing them with non-plastic alternatives. All our cafes only offer paper straws.
Waitrose has committed to removing all takeaway disposable coffee cups from its shops by autumn 2018, saving more than 52 million cups a year.
We’re also helping to fund an initiative from ACE UK - the Alliance for Beverage Cartons and the Environment - to help accelerate recycling for coffee cups across the country.