Waitrose builds on plastics pledge by switching to paper straws in cafes

Waitrose has revealed it will build on a commitment to stop selling packs of single-use plastics straws later this year, by replacing all plastic straws used in its onsite cafes with Forest Stewardship Council (FSC) certified paper alternatives.

In January, Waitrose announced that it will stop selling packs of plastic straws at all supermarkets by September 2018. Before the phase out is completed in stores, Waitrose will convert all plastic straws in cafes to paper variants by the end of April 2018.

Waitrose’s head of sustainability and responsible sourcing Tor Harris said: ‘‘Phasing out single-use plastic straws in our cafes and on shelves shows how seriously we are taking their impact on the environment.

‘‘Plastic straws may seem insignificant but their impact on wildlife can be devastating. We hope this step will make a positive contribution to our environment.’’

Since 2009, Waitrose has reduced overall packaging by almost 50%, while 80% of its packaging is considered widely recyclable and fitted with the appropriate logo. In 2016, Waitrose became the first retailer to stop selling any product that contained microbeads – which were subsequently banned in the UK earlier this year.

Around 600,000 straws will be converted to home compostable material as a result, all of which is FSC certified. All Waitrose cafes offer non-plastic crockery as well as drink stirrers made from wood.


On the subject of stirrers, Defra secretary Michael Gove has publicly backed a new initiative to eradicate plastic disposable drinks stirrers by 2020.

The StirCrazy campaign calls on businesses to remove plastic stirrers from circulation and in cafes and canteens, instead replacing them with metal or paper alternatives. Suppliers are also encouraged to delist plastic stirrers in favour of the alternatives.

Commenting on his support for the campaign, Gove said: “Single-use plastic can be lethal to our precious environment and wildlife. #StirCrazy is taking important action against unnecessary plastic stirrers by encouraging people not to use something so destructive to our environment.

“We all have a vital role to play in driving out avoidable plastic waste, and with businesses, customers and suppliers collaborating to eradicate avoidable plastic waste, we can ensure we leave our planet in a better state than we found it.”

Launched in the UK, Bucharest and Brussels by Clear Public Space, the campaign has already attracted support from the likes of Costa and UK catering equipment supplier Nisbets.

John Lewis at edie Live

Benjamin Thomas will be speaking at the Resource Efficiency theatre on day two of edie Live. This session will hear from some of the industry experts and organisations that have been championing closed-loop collaborations to drive resource efficiency.

Running between 22 – 23 May 2018, edie Live plans to show delegates how they can achieve their Mission Possible. Through the lens of energy, resources, the built environment, mobility and business leadership an array of expert speakers will be on hand to inspire delegates to achieve a sustainable future. For more information click here.

Matt Mace

Comments (3)

  1. Luke Douglas-Home says:

    Our thoughts are – we couldn’t think of a single-use plastic (SUP) that was more superfluous, more forgettable and needless. We use them |(stirrers) and they then last for centuries (unless you incinerate). There are such plentiful and easy alternatives – metal teaspoon, bamboo, FSC-certified wood from sustainable sources.

    Re-thinking use of plastic at the most core level, starts a process of challenging every bit of SUP.

    And this #StirCrazy campaign is just the beginning of a series of campaigns, challenging them all, in time. Three questions to you Edie readers please:
    1) what other SUPs are easy to be challenged? and
    2) Can you improve our slogan "Re-think you use of plastic – don’t stir with it. We don’t!" Please let us know – here on Edie, and at [email protected]? and
    3) you could sign our petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stircrazy-1-pret-a-manger-plastic-stirrers-why ? That would really help 1/3 of our first year objectives! thanks thanks

  2. Roger Munford says:

    I noticed that bread bought this week from Waitrose was in a single paper bag.
    Bread bought last week had a plastic "window" in the same bag making it a recycling problem.
    It seems to me that the plastic straw problem is confined to families with young children, a period of a few years. I have spent years ripping out the plastic film in waitrose bread bags. the straw problem could have been stopped years ago and nobody would have noticed.

  3. Luke Douglas-Home says:

    Roger, we will investigate and report back, next week. Luke
    might you (it takes 3 mins) sign our petition at https://you.38degrees.org.uk/petitions/stircrazy-1-pret-a-manger-plastic-stirrers-why ?

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