Supermarkets cut back on plastic for Christmas products

As part of plans to cut down on single-use plastic, UK supermarkets have pledged to cut down on plastic in their Christmas ranges. Among them, major retailers John Lewis and Waitrose have announced that from 2020 they will no longer sell Christmas crackers with plastic toys.

Instead, both supermarkets will only use crackers containing toys made from recyclable material, including the glitter, which will no longer be plastic. In addition, John Lewis will be selling “fill your own” crackers, which the company says accounts for a third of sales.

This also follows plans announced by John Lewis last year to plan plastic glitter from its own brand products by next year. It has already cut down on the amount of plastic glitter in some of its other products, including wrapping paper, gift bags, and advent calendars.

Other retailers have gone on to make similar promises. For example, Tesco has switched to biodegradable glitter for its Christmas tree and plant range this year, and has also stopped using glitter on its own-brand wrapping paper, cards, and gift tags.

Marks and Spencer have removed glitter from its Christmas range this year as part of plans to be glitter free by next Christmas, Sainsbury’s has got rid of plastic packages for Christmas crackers, and Asda has ditched plastic windows and film from some own-brand products.

Friends of the Earth welcomed the changes, although they said it was a shame it didn’t happen earlier. Julian Kirby, plastics campaigner for the charity, said: “Getting rid of the plastic tat from Christmas crackers will go some way to cutting down on the pollution of the festive season, but we’d like to challenge all supermarkets to give us the gift of a Christmas completely free of unnecessary plastic.”

Louise Edge, head of Greenpeace UK’s ocean plastics campaign, also called for more action to be taken, saying: “Single-use plastic should never be a Christmas tradition, so we welcome John Lewis and Waitrose getting rid of throwaway plastic toys from crackers. However this should be just step one for retailers.”

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