Waitrose bans disposable plastic toys given away with children's magazines

Tuesday 23 March 2021

Waitrose will step up its efforts to reduce single use plastic by no longer selling children's magazines containing disposable toys.

The retailer was inspired to act after hearing about the campaign by a 10-year-old girl from Gwynedd, who has launched her own campaign to persuade publishers to end the practice.

Many children's magazines now contain free plastic toys which have a very short lifespan and cannot be easily recycled. This will not include educational or reusable craft items, such as colouring pencils and pens or collectable models which are intended to be used multiple times.

Waitrose will lead the way in removing them from its supermarket shelves over the next eight weeks and instead calling for magazine publishers to replace plastic toys with more sustainable alternatives.

Marija Rompani, Partner & Director of Ethics & Sustainability said: "While we know these magazines are popular with children, some of the unnecessary plastic attached to them has become really excessive.

“Many in the younger generation really care about the planet and are the ones inheriting the problem of plastic pollution. We urge publishers to find alternatives, and other retailers to follow our lead in ending the pointless plastic that comes with children's magazines."

In 2019, Waitrose also announced it would stop selling Christmas crackers containing plastic toys from 2020 as part of plans to cut down on single-use plastic. Instead crackers are now filled with toys made from recyclable materials and do not use plastic glitter.

Waitrose is tackling single-use plastic across its entire business and is on track to making all own-label packaging  widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023. 

Waitrose recently ranked first in Greenpeace’s annual league table, for the second year in a row, which looks at how supermarkets are reducing use of single-use plastics.


Waitrose plastic and packaging:

More information about how Waitrose is reducing plastic and packaging can be found here

By 2023, all own-label packaging will be widely recycled, reusable or home compostable.

To reduce single use plastic by 20% by 2021 - increasing to 50% across Waitrose own label by 2025.

By 2025, increase the proportion of reusable and refillable packaging used across Waitrose own label products by 50%.

By 2030, we aim to halve food waste in our own operations, supply chain and from customers’ households.

Waitrose also plan to remove the following:

  • PLA - small amount will be removed by end 2020
  • PS - removed by end 2023
  • EPS - removed in 2019
  • PVC - removed by end 2021
  • PVdC - removed by end 2023

About the John Lewis Partnership

The John Lewis Partnership owns and operates two of Britain's best-loved retail brands - John Lewis and Waitrose. Started as a radical idea nearly a century ago, the Partnership is the largest employee-owned business in the UK and amongst the largest in the world, with over 78,000 employees who are all Partners in the business. For all intents and purposes, the Partnership is a social enterprise; the profits made are reinvested into the business - for customers and Partners. John Lewis operates 42 shops plus one outlet across the UK as well as johnlewis.com. Waitrose has 331 shops in England, Scotland, Wales and the Channel Islands, including  59 convenience branches, and another 27 shops at Welcome Break locations. The retailer's omnichannel business includes the online grocery service, Waitrose.com, as well as specialist online shops including waitrosecellar.com for wine and waitroseflorist.com for plants and flowers.


Waitrose & Partners

Hannah Chance

Partner & Communications Manager, Brand
Tel: 07525 273147
Email: hannah.chance@waitrose.co.uk