Morrisons, Waitrose and John Lewis remove glitter from Christmas items

Three retailers, Morrisons, Waitrose and John Lewis, have met commitments to phase-out glitter from Christmas products due to the damage the microplastics can cause to the natural environment.

In May, Morrisons increased its target to reduce own-brand plastic packaging from 25% to 50% by 2025

In May, Morrisons increased its target to reduce own-brand plastic packaging from 25% to 50% by 2025

Morrisons has confirmed that glitter has been completely removed from its own-brand ranges of greetings cards, gift wrap, seasonal items and horticulture in stores. Plans are also in place to extend the phase-out to non-seasonal items.

The move will see more than 50 tonnes of plastic removed from shelves during the festive period. Soluble inks, foil and paper will instead be used to decorate the items. Crackers will be made from FSC accredited cardboard so they can be recycled.

Morrisons has also removed all plastic toys from its Christmas crackers, which the retailer claims will be 100% plastic-free. Games and gifts found in crackers will be designed for reuse and made out of paper, metal and wood.

In May, Morrisons increased its target to reduce own-brand plastic packaging from 25% to 50% by 2025.

The company’s home director Christine Bryce said: “Every time a cracker is pulled, or a card is opened, plastics have been used...but just the once. So, we’ve taken glitter and plastic out of our festive range this year - so that our customers can enjoy their festivities without worrying about the environmental impact.

“This means that we’re now 100% glitter-free across all our own brand ranges which is an important step in the fight against plastic pollution.”

In related news, Waitrose and John Lewis have confirmed that glitter has been removed for all their single-use Christmas products.  

Now, all own-brand cards, gift backs, wrapping paper and crackers are completely free from glitter. Instead, items have been decorated using embossing or ink. This also applies for flowers and plants at Waitrose. 

The retailer has met a commitment that it unveiled in 2019. As part of a first step, John Lewis & Partners debuted a range of “fill your own” crackers following the announcement, whereby customers add their own gifts at home. The retailer claimed these it was one of the most popular crackers.

Building on Waitrose & Partners’ pledge to phase out plastic glitter from its own-label cards, wrap, crackers, tags, flowers and plants by Christmas 2020, John Lewis & Partners also made the same commitment. The firm’s own-brand offerings from Christmas 2019 contained two-thirds less glitter, by weight, than its Christmas 2018 range. The retailer has worked with suppliers to eliminate the remaining glitter.

Despite its metallic appearance, most glitter is made up of PET plastic bonded to aluminium. This makes it a source of microplastic pollution.  Given that up to 32,000 tonnes of microplastic pollution enter British waterways each year, many retailers have made the decision to move glitter from their shelves. The likes of Aldi and Tesco, for example, have both committed to removing glitter from products.

Matt Mace



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