Plastic toys in Christmas crackers are set to become a thing of the past as Waitrose and John Lewis announce plans to further reduce single-use plastic products.
2019 will be the last Christmas the partnership’s crackers will contain plastic toys with plans in place to fill the crackers with metal and paper games made from recyclable materials.
Glitter, which is also made from tiny pieces of plastic, will also no longer feature on the future design of the crackers. Instead, they will be decorated with other more environmentally friendly methods including an embossing technique.
This year, John Lewis & Partners is selling three own brand designs of ‘fill your own’ crackers, which are so far accounting for one in every three packets of Christmas crackers sold.
Although the plastic-free crackers won’t be out in time for this Christmas, the company has reduced the amount of plastic glitter by two thirds on its own brand range of Christmas wrapping paper, gift bags and tags, advent calendars and crackers.
The retailer has also announced that the ranges of these single-use items - which are being ordered now from suppliers for next Christmas - will not contain any plastic
John Lewis estimates it will save eight tonnes of plastic a year now that it has removed the plastic wrapping from most of the individual cards it sells.
In addition, all of the real Christmas trees sold in John Lewis are grown in the UK and all of its tinsel is made in Wales.
Dan Cooper, partner and head Christmas buyer at John Lewis, said: “Reducing the amount of single-use plastic in products and packaging is really important to us and our customers.
“One of the challenges I face as a buyer is that we plan 18 months ahead, so it takes time for changes to become a reality. I’m always searching for new, more sustainable products which will make Christmas sparkle but won’t end up spoiling our environment.”
Julian Kirby, plastics campaigner at Friends of the Earth, told Acre: “We've seen great stuff from Waitrose's Unpacked initiative in cutting out plastic, so it’s a shame
that we couldn’t have had plastic-free Christmas crackers sooner than 2020.
“Getting rid of the plastic tat from Christmas crackers will go some way to cutting down 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.”