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Waitrose ditches plastic toys from Christmas crackers in attempts to cut down on single use plastic

Helena Horton
The new eco crackers - Waitrose

Waitrose and John Lewis will no longer sell plastic toys in Christmas crackers in an attempt to cut down on throwaway plastic.

By 2020, the new re-designed crackers will be filled with toys made from recyclable materials such as metal and paper games, and decorated with techniques such as embossing, rather than plastic glitter.

While the retailer tries to eliminate single-use Christmas plastic, this year John Lewis will be selling three designs of fill-your-own, reusable crackers.

In time for this Christmas John Lewis & Partners has reduced the amount of plastic glitter on its own brand range of Christmas wrapping paper, gift bags and tags, advent calendars and crackers by two-thirds.

Next year, nothing from any supplier for Christmas will contain any plastic glitter at all. 

In addition, John Lewis has already removed the plastic wrapping from vast majority of the individual cards it sells and estimates that this alone will save eight tonnes of plastic each year.  

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.”

Other supermarkets have cut down on plastics in time for Christmas, with Marks and Spencer removing glitter from its entire Christmas range. Tesco has switched to biodegradable glitter.

Sainsbury's has removed all plastic packaging from Christmas crackers, while Asda has removed plastic windows and film from mince pie boxes.