Waste

The Partnership has an overriding aim to stop all types of waste. In fact, we consider waste materials we generate to be valuable resources. We are committed to working with our supply chain to explore opportunities to reduce waste and 'close the loop' on our waste material. We also want to increase reuse services for products when they reach the end of their useful life.

Target

Progress

Divert 100% of waste from landfill by end 2020/21

98.2%* was diverted in the 7 months to July 20161

75% operational waste to be recycled by year end 2020/21

67.2%* was recycled in the 7 months to July 20161

100% closed-loop recycling of cardboard, plastic & glass by year end 2020/21

We continue to look for opportunities to increase the use of recycled materials in our buildings and operations, and, where possible, to make this a closed-loop solution.   

15% reduction in Waitrose organic matter waste (vs 2014/15 baseline) by 2020/21 13.9%* compared to the first 7 months of 2014/151

1This covers the period 1 January 2016 - 31 July 2016 due to a changeover in waste contractor during the year. We are working with the new contractor to develop accurate and robust waste reporting.

*We engaged KPMG LLP to undertake an independent limited assurance engagement, reporting to the Partnership, over selected information.

 

Delivery Partners carrying a sofa

Making use of end-of-use

We recognise the potential to improve the recycling and reuse of the products that we sell as well as items that are no longer useful to customers. We continue to offer a number of takeback services. We will explore opportunities to expand these services to new product ranges whilst also increasing the variety of products that can be taken back in store for recycling.   

Approximately 10 million items of furniture are thrown away every year in the UK but it's estimated that 3 million could be reused2. John Lewis's sofa reuse scheme, our first not-for-profit service, involves collecting 'end-of-first-life' sofas from customers homes, then reusing or recycling them in partnership with local charities to support disadvantaged communities. In 2016, through our work with the Furniture Reuse Network, almost 2,000 of our customers' sofas were reused.

Waste Electrical Equipment (WEEE) is one of the fastest growing waste streams in the UK and landfill sites are reaching full capacity. Much of this waste can be recycled and the resources recovered to make new consumer goods. Through our appliance disposal service, we collect customer WEEE and put it to good use again through reuse or recycling. In 2016/17 over 370,000 items of WEEE were collected of which nearly 30,000 were reused and the remainder recycled.

The majority of mattresses in the UK also end up in landfill when they are no longer in use. Through our mattress recycling service, mattresses are collected and broken down. Most of material extracted such as PU foam, polyester, nylon and steel springs are recycled. In 2016/17 approximately 46,000 mattresses were collected and recycled, preventing roughly 1,500 tonnes of waste going to landfill.

Carpet waste can be particularly challenging to recycle due the variety of component materials that need to be separated. However, in 2013, we began collecting and reprocessing offcuts from our fitters to create new underlay, which is comparable in quality to conventional underlay.

2https://www.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/264911/wpp-priority-areas.pdf (PDF 607KB)

Waitrose LoveLife packet of red lentil pasta

Packaging solutions

Cardboard packaging is a significant but valuable waste stream for the Partnership. Wherever possible we incorporate our operational packaging waste into new customer packaging. In the first 7 months of 2016, we collected and recycled approximately 23,000 tonnes of cardboard. Approximately 1,000 tonnes of this was blended with FSC-certified pulp to make John Lewis '‘Click & collect' boxes. We are also committed to working with our suppliers to incorporate more of the cardboard we recycle into our packaging.

Waitrose is working to develop first-to-market solutions for new, more sustainable packaging materials that can be shared with the industry. As well as maximising the amount of packaging that is easily recyclable, we aim to increase the number of products we sell using bio-based packaging year-on-year, which will complement existing materials and infrastructure. Our Love Life Gluten Free Pasta, for example, uses packaging that blends 85% paper with 15% of a compatible bean waste by-product.