Circularity & waste

To help reduce the environmental impact of our business activity we must, where possible, transform our business model to support the transition to a more circular economy by designing, making and selling products that limit waste and pollution, and keeps 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 or 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 physical 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

CIRCULARITY

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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 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 Re-use Scheme and Beautycycle and trial new programmes such as the Hanger Recycle Project and Fashion buyback. John Lewis is also a founding signatory of Textiles 2030. Find out more.


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

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We aim to reduce consumption of, and reuse, as many materials as possible. Where this isn't possible we will ensure that as much as possible of the waste we create is recyclable. We are continually working across our supply chains and own operations to find creative solutions to divert as much waste from landfills as we can. Progress to date is 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’. Find out more.

FOOD WASTE

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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 sent to Company Shop Group, the UK’s largest redistributor of surplus food.

TACKLING FOOD WASTE AT HOME

Domestic kitchens are arguably one of the greatest sources of food waste. We are committed to helping our customers tackle food waste at home and aim to help halve our customers' household food waste by 2030. Our dedicated Waitrose page offers practical advice on how customers can make sure food that’s still fit to eat is never wasted. In 2021, as a key supporter of Food Waste Action Week, we will be launching a new set of materials containing more useful ideas to further help our customers. 

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 by 50% by 2030. 

Find out more ways that Waitrose is tackling food waste.

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TAKING ACTION ON PLASTICS

Find out about Waitrose’s plastic action plan

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UNPACKED

Find out more about our Unpacked initiative in Waitrose shops

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Plan Plastic: The Million Pound Challenge

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