The Partnership's long-standing objective is to reduce waste wherever possible, and to reuse or recycle more of the waste we produce.

Mike Walters, Operations Manager, Recycling and Waste
We have recycled cardboard from our shops and distribution centres for many years

Why is waste important to us?

  • The Partnership generates over 60,000 tonnes of waste and places over 130,000 tonnes of packaging on the market each year.
  • All waste must be treated and disposed of legally, with
    the least impact on the environment.
  • Product packaging is an issue that particularly concerns our customers. 
  • We have set targets that challenge us to divert
    waste from landfill, increase our rate of recycling and reduce the environmental impact of our packaging.
  • As well as recycling our own waste, we also have a legal obligation to recycle a proportion of the waste our customers take home.
  • Waitrose is a signatory to the Courtauld Commitment
    which commits us to reduce packaging and food waste.


Our targets and commitments

We actively support waste reduction within our business, by our customers and throughout our supply chain.

The Partnership has a range of targets including:

  • Divert 95 per cent of our operational waste from landfill by 2013.
  • Recycle 75 per cent of all operational waste by year-end 2012 - we narrowly missed this target, achieving a total of 74 per cent.
  • Divert all Waitrose shop food waste from landfill by year-end 2012/13 - this target was achieved in September 2012.
  • Aims to reduce the environmental impact of packaging.
  • Reducing construction waste through our Responsible Development framework.

Read about our progress and performance in our Sustainability Review.

Key initiatives

We continually look for ways to reduce the waste we produce. Our approach for our operational waste involves:

  • Providing the right equipment and processes, such as having suitable recycling bins and collection systems in place.
  • Sharing information, including putting our best practice guidance document onto our intranet for all Partners to access.
  • Implementing an effective waste management strategy that doesn't impose on our core functions as a retail business.
  • Exploring innovative ways of treating waste.


The Partnership is keen to encourage customers to reduce, reuse and recycle:

  • In 2012 we launched our Food Waste Hierarchy to help enable surplus food, fit for consumption, to be donated locally, rather than becoming waste
  • Where space and local collection arrangements permit our Waitrose shops offer customer recycling facilities on or near our car parks for materials such as paper, glass, metal and clothing.
  • Every Waitrose shop also offers carrier bag recycling facilities and John Lewis has carrier bag recycling in four stores. We are keen to reduce carrier bag usage by offering environmentally responsible alternatives to our customers. For more information see our views on carrier bags.
  • Waitrose and John Lewis joined the UK-wide On-Pack Recycling Label scheme (www.onpackrecyclinglabel.org) which aims to increase household recycling rates through standardised messaging for consumers. This recyclability labelling is on all own-brand products (where space permits).
  • In line with legal requirements the Partnership introduced recycling points for waste batteries in every John Lewis and Waitrose shop in 2010.
  • Since 1 July 2007, the UK's Waste Electrical and Electronic Equipment (WEEE) Regulations have allowed members of the public to recycle old electrical and electronic appliances at sites across the UK, free of charge. This is helping to reduce the amount of electrical waste being disposed of to landfill or incinerated. For more information on how we're helping customers to recycle old electrical equipment, see our views on WEEE recycling.


Find out more about the UK's waste strategies (www.complydirect.com/the-recycling-room/national-waste-strategies).