Joining the fight against plastic pollution, the retailer says that in two years time its cards, gift wraps, crackers, gift tags, flowers and plants will either be glitter-free, or use an environmentally-friendly alternative.
Instead, the supermarket intends to use more vibrant foliage in its flowers, and elaborate designs on its cards and wrapping paper so as not to completely take the sparkle out of Christmas.
“Reducing the impact of plastics on the environment is something our customers care passionately about,” said Tor Harris, head of CSR, health and agriculture for Waitrose & Partners.
“While it’s important to eliminate the use of glitter, we’ll find other ways to make sure our products sparkle at Christmas and throughout the year.”
The move comes as mounting concern about the effects of plastics on marine wildlife has meant brands are starting to reconsider how micro-plastics are used in their products.
One of the worst offenders, glitter is made up of tiny pieces of plastic that, when washed off, can pass through filtration systems and end up in the ocean.
Scientists and campaigners believe some eight million tonnes of plastic is currently floating in the world’s seas, affecting some 600 species.
Waitrose became the first supermarket to cut plastics in its beauty products by switching to biodegradable paper from plastic cotton buds in 2016, after the microbeads in plastic cotton buds were recognised as a serious threat to marine ecosystems.
The retailer has also brought forward its target to make all its own brand packaging widely recycled, reusable or home compostable from 2025 to 2023.
Earlier this year, BBC One’s Strictly Come Dancing announced that it had banned the use of traditional glitter on the programme.
A spokesperson explained that all liquid glitter being used throughout the show is eco-friendly, and won’t pose a threat to marine life when flushed down the drain.
“All our liquid glitter used in the theme weeks is sourced from Burt’s Bees which is all biodegradable, and this series they will also be supplying us with biodegradable makeup wipes,” they said.
On top of that, the spokesperson added that the majority of makeup used on contestants is also biodegradable, and that the show is currently investigating whether absolutely all of the ingredients in the makeup it uses is eco-friendly.
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