John Lewis & Waitrose to ban plastic in Christmas crackers

Waitrose John Lewis Partnership Christmas crackers sustainability plastic waste
The initiative is part of the partnership's aim to reduce single-use plastics
// John Lewis & Waitrose to remove plastic toys from Christmas crackers from 2020
// Both retailers will switch to crackers made of cardboard wrappers
// The crackers will instead be filled with recyclable materials

John Lewis and Waitrose have announced that they will no longer stock Christmas crackers containing plastic toys and puzzles from 2020.

The initiative is part of the John Lewis Partnership’s aim to reduce single-use plastics.

Both retailers will switch to crackers made of cardboard wrappers, filled with recyclable materials such as metal and paper.


John Lewis also said earlier this year that it would reduce the amount of glitter used to decorate its own-brand range of Christmas wrapping paper, gift bags and tags, advent calendars and crackers by two-thirds.

The move followed environmental campaigners calling to ban glitter products as the polyethylene terephthalate in glitter could harm people and animals if it enters the oceans.

However, retailers have responded by saying it is difficult to change product lines quickly as they are usually ordered in advance by more than a year.

“Reducing the amount of single-use plastic in products and packaging is really important to us and our customers,” John Lewis head Christmas buyer Dan Cooper said.

“One of the challenges I face as a buyer is that we plan 18 months ahead, so it takes time for changes to become a reality.

“I’m always searching for new, more sustainable products which will make Christmas sparkle but won’t end up spoiling our environment.”

In December last year, Waitrose pledged to ban glitter from all own-brand products. The supermarket chain said its own-label cards, wraps, crackers, tags, flowers and plants would either be glitter-free or use an environmentally friendly alternative by 2020.

Moreover, Waitrose said last week it was trialling the removal of plastic on thousands of multibuy cans as it continues to remove and reduce single use plastic.

The plastic wrap, which is used to keep three or four cans attached for convenience, will be entirely removed from some of the retailer’s canned vegetables.

If the trial prove a success, the wrap will be removed on further canned products.

Meanwhile, Marks & Spencer announced in August that it was banning glitter from this year’s Christmas cards, wrapping paper, calendars and crackers.

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  1. Great initiative.Much to be applauded. Although I am hoping it doesn’t cover the curling fish that tells you how passionate you are.. One of the highlights of Christmas. Except it always seems to roll over on itself and jump out my hand. Can’t remember what that means…

  2. In my local John Lewis store this week I counted no fewer than 26 different Christmas wrap designs, of which only 5 were recyclable. The rest contained either foil or glitter. (The labelling is misleading as only the card supporting the paper roll is recyclable). The department manager explained the 18 month forward planning in retail – just as he has done in reply to the same query for the last five years.


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