Our vision is that by 2020 we will eliminate all of our operational waste going to landfill, and reduce the amount of food waste we generate.  We are also continuing to explore innovative solutions to reuse our own reprocessed cardboard, glass and plastic waste in our operations, supporting a more circular business model.

Achieving our Operational Waste Target

We are pleased to have achieved our aim to divert 98% of our operational waste from landfill by year end 2015/16.  In 2015/16 98.1%* of waste was diverted from landfill. 66.4%* was recycled - with the majority of the remainder going to energy recovery facilities, including anaerobic digestion. 

We aim to increase recycling to 75% by year end 2020/21.  We are improving the efficiency of our processes to achieve this.  For example, a greater proportion of cardboard and plastic packaging components are now being captured for recycling within our National Distribution Centres before being sent to our shops, rather than being sent on to our shops and subsequently backhauled.  More product now travels from distribution centre to shop floor in reusable plastic tote bins or trays, reducing manual handling, unpacking time, waste management resources and road miles.  In addition we have improved our processes to ensure all recyclate generated is handled carefully to maintain quality.

Our Targets and Performance


Target Progress
Divert 98% of our operational waste from landfill by year end 2015/16 Achieved: 98.1%* of our waste was diverted from landfill.
Our new target is to divert 100% of waste from landfill by end 2020/21
75% operational waste to be recycled by year end 2020/21 In 2015/16 66.4%* of waste was recycled up from 65% in 2014/15
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. For example, our cardboard is reprocessed in the UK and used in the production of ‘Click and Collect’ customer boxes.
15% reduction in food waste (vs 2014/15 baseline) by 2020/21 In the past year we have reduced our absolute food waste generated by 11.2%* (at 9,180 tonnes*).

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

Duchy egg boxes

Reducing the Impact of Grocery Packaging

At Waitrose we are continuing our work with suppliers to develop innovative lean packaging alternatives.  For example, this year we replaced our trifle lids with film, saving around 2 tonnes of plastic annually.  Following the successful weight reductions through our ‘flow-wrap’ solution for fresh meat, we are trialling vacuum-packaging as a method of reducing volume and weight even further. 

Our new five year strategy has been developed in conjunction with the Waitrose Supplier Producer Group.   This consists of our strategic suppliers and packaging partners.  We have set objectives for new forms of own-brand packaging, increased recycled and recyclable content and light weighting.

We want to develop first-to-market solutions for new, more sustainable packaging materials that can be shared with the industry.  We aim to increase the number of products we sell using bio-based packaging year-on-year.  As such we are engaging with a consortium of stakeholders representing manufacturers, product suppliers, raw material manufacturers, converters and land owners to develop more sustainable alternatives. Our recently introduced Duchy organic egg boxes are made up of a mixture of rye grass and paper. The production process uses 60% less water than a standard alternative and has a 10% smaller carbon footprint.

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