Waitrose launches own-brand compostable coffee capsules as homemade lattes replace office brews

Monday 29 March 2021

In a supermarket first, Waitrose will start replacing coffee capsules with a home compostable alternative, saving millions of capsules from landfill.  

The previous capsules were made from mixed materials (polypropylene with an aluminum lid) which were difficult to separate for recycling.  

Now, Waitrose will sell coffee capsules made from bio-sourced materials, including sunflower seed bark and sugars derived from corn, which are fully compostable. The lid is made from cellulose and can also be home-composted. The box is fully recyclable. 

Arriving in shops this week, the coffee will be the first own-label home compostable capsules that can be used in Nespresso-style coffee machines.

Prompted by the pandemic, Waitrose has seen a significant rise in coffee sales in the last 12 months, up by 39%, as customers stayed at home and replaced their office or High Street coffee with a homemade roast.  John Lewis also saw an increase in sales for coffee capsule machines. Even after lockdown, this trend is expected to continue as people work from home more in the future.

Made from Fairtrade coffee, four different blends in the new packaging will be available in Waitrose shops and on waitrose.com from this week,  including Espresso 10's and 20s, Lungo 10's, Ristretto 10's and Decaf 10's.

Polly Astbury, Coffee Buyer at Waitrose, said: "We’re working hard so that all our packaging can be more easily recycled, reusable or home compostable in the next two years. After a year of so many cups of coffee, it was essential we looked for a more sustainable material. As coffee grains can also be used as a fertiliser,  making our capsules home compostable was an ideal alternative.”

Earlier this week, Waitrose announced plans to no longer sell children's magazines containing disposable toys in an effort to reduce single use plastic. 

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 is on track to making all own-label packaging  widely recycled, reusable or home compostable by 2023. 


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