Circularity & Waste

To help reduce the environmental impact on nature of our business activity we must, where possible, transform our business model to support the transition to a more circular economy. We must design, make and sell products that limit waste and pollution, and keep materials in use for longer.  

It is critical we reduce the amount of physical waste our business produces through operations, sales of goods and services, food waste and single-use plastic packaging, in order to prevent further environmental damage, food scarcity, and climate breakdown. We’re facing these challenges head-on, innovating towards a more circular economy.

Our Strategy

We aim to develop solutions to waste across our product and packaging supply chains, our online and in-store service propositions, and our own operations. We will strive to raise awareness and educate our customers and to be an active voice to drive industry-wide change.

In October 2020 we launched bold circularity and waste commitments:

  • All John Lewis product categories will have a ‘buy back’ or ‘take back’ solution by 2025.
  • John Lewis will continue to develop sustainable rental and resale options for customers.
  • We will halve food waste in Waitrose’s supply chains by 2030 in addition to our existing 2030 operational target. 
  • We aim to help halve our customers’ household food waste by 2030


In October 2022, we made a further commitment that all new John Lewis own-brand products will meet circularity criteria by 2028.

Partners Against Waste


‘Partners Against Waste’ is our ambition for a waste-free future. We know that climate change is a serious concern for both Partners and our customers. That’s why we’re leading a journey of change - by saying goodbye to unnecessary plastics, designing better packaging and reducing waste right across the business. Together, we can make waste a thing of the past.



We have always believed in making products that are built to last but, inevitably, customers will want to replace certain items. That’s why we’ve committed to ensuring all product categories have a ‘buy back’ or ‘take’ back solution by 2025, and that we’ll continue to develop sustainable rental and resale options for customers.

We’ll also continue to develop our current successful take-back and recycling schemes including Mattress and Carpet recycling, the Sofa Reuse Scheme and BeautyCycle. In 2022 we rolled out our FashionCycle scheme to all of our stores and launched childrenswear rental with thelittleloop. John Lewis is also a founding signatory of Textiles 2030.

In August 2021, John Lewis launched a new range of mattresses, containing wool provided after shearing, by UK sheep farmers supplying Waitrose. Once a highly valued commodity in the UK, wool has been under-utilised for decades. By partnering with Waitrose’s long standing suppliers, this natural fibre will be put to good use and ensure the quality wool they’re producing is not wasted.

Plastics and Packaging


We aim to reduce consumption of, and reuse as many materials as possible. Where these options are not available we ensure as much waste as possible is recyclable. Progress to date is detailed in our most recent Ethics and Sustainability Report. You can also find out what Waitrose is doing to eliminate plastic waste here

John Lewis and Waitrose are also signatories of ‘The UK Plastics Pact’.

Food Waste


We’ve committed to halving food waste in our own operations by 2030, and have extended this to our supply chain too. 

In 2017 we formed a Partnership with FareShare, a charity dedicated to eliminating food insecurity  and reducing food waste across the UK. All of our stores with surplus food can scan and upload products using the FareShare app. The surplus food is collected by FareShare who distribute it to charities, enabling them to feed those in need. Any food FareShare is unable to take is given to Partners.

Tackling Food Waste At Home

Over 70% of food waste in the UK takes place at home. We are committed to helping our customers tackle food waste at home, aiming to help halve our customers' household food waste by 2030. Our dedicated Waitrose 'LiveWise' page offers practical advice on how customers can make sure food that’s still fit to eat is never wasted.

Waste in the Supply Chain

Waste is a problem throughout the whole food supply chain, and is a problem the entire industry is resolved to address. In 2018 we were among the first supermarkets to adopt the new industry-wide Food Waste Reduction Roadmap devised by the Waste Resources Action Programme (WRAP) to help food businesses target food waste. We now stipulate that all our own brand UK suppliers commit to the Food Waste Reduction Roadmap, to help reduce food waste in our supply chains by 50% by 2030.  

Find out more ways that Waitrose is tackling food waste.

Case Study

Farm to furniture


In June 2023, we announced that 100% of the leather used for our John Lewis own-brand sofas and chairs would come from the higher welfare UK farms that supply Waitrose beef. We have also introduced new chopping boards made from timber that would otherwise have gone to waste.

John Lewis began a successful Sheep to Sleep circular design initiative in 2021, filling its mattresses with otherwise wasted wool sourced from Waitrose farms. The innovative leather sofa initiative, Farm to Furniture, builds on that success, bringing our two distinct businesses together to reduce the Partnership’s environmental impact while creating beautifully designed, long-lasting and high-quality products that support British producers.

Four times in a row, Waitrose’s farming supply chain has been presented with the Best Retailer Award by Compassion in World Farming. So customers can be reassured that the leather covering John Lewis sofas comes from British Waitrose farms that respect animals and nature.

In an associated poll, 73% of shoppers said the welfare of animals produced for meat was important to them, with 89% also stressing the importance of sourcing produce from the UK. Leather and home furnishings, however, proved to be a possible ethical blind spot – 85% of adults acknowledged owning leather goods but 80% of those were unsure whether the material came from British farms. In fact, only 5% of people surveyed considered where the materials used to make their furniture came from.

Following on from Farm to Furniture, we launched a range of chopping boards made using ash felled at the Duchy and Leckford estates. This new waste-to-resource initiative features a limited edition chopping board produced from ash felled at Duchy and Leckford estates due to ash dieback, a disease that has the potential to affect half of UK ash trees over the coming years. We worked with UK-based suppliers to create 700 unique chopping boards and prevent the timber from this necessary felling going to waste.



“All the leather we use for John Lewis own-brand sofas and chairs starts life in the UK from Waitrose farms we know and trust. Leather is a durable and high-quality material that is built to last, providing John Lewis customers real value for their money.”

Sean Kennedy
Head of UK Sales, Crest Leather.


The John Lewis Partnership and Hubbub are delighted to present The Circular Future Fund: The Million Pound Challenge.


Find out about the projects supported to provide solutions to tackling plastic pollution


We’ve teamed up with thelittleloop to give even more parents access to the biggest wardrobe of rented kids' clothing in the UK.


Find out about Waitrose’s plastic action plan