Glitter Loses Its Shimmer As Waitrose Phases It Out

UK based retailer Waitrose has pledged that by Christmas 2020, its private brand cards, wrap, crackers, tags, flowers, and plants will either be glitter-free or the retailer will use an environmentally friendly alternative.

This year, three-quarters of the retailer’s own label cards, wraps, crackers and tags along with half of its flowers and plants will be glitter-free. This will increase by next Christmas when all flowers and plants will be glitter-free, and by 2020 all private label products will be glitter-free or use an environmentally friendly alternative.

Glitter is made up of tiny pieces of plastic, and when washed off, the little bits of plastic can end up in water where they never break down.   

The move by the retailer follows news earlier this year that BBC 1’s Strictly Come Dancing banned the use of traditional glitter on the program, as have a number of nursery schools and music festivals in the UK.

Tor Harris, Head of CSR, Health & Agriculture for Waitrose & Partners, said:

“Reducing the impact of plastics on the environment is something our customers care passionately about. 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.”

Waitrose & Partners was the first supermarket in 2016 to cut plastics in its beauty products by switching to biodegradable paper from plastic cotton buds. The microbeads in plastic cotton buds are recognized as a serious threat to marine ecosystems.

Waitrose & Partners has also brought forward its target to make all its private brand packaging widely recycled, reusable or home compostable from 2025 to 2023. The retailer will replace approximately 11,000 tons of non-recycled plastic within those two years with more sustainable alternatives.

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Christopher Durham
Christopher Durham is the president of My Private Brand and the co-founder of The Vertex Awards. He is a strategist, author, consultant and retailer who built brands at Delhaize-owned Food Lion, and lead strategy and brand development for Lowe’s Home Improvement. He has consulted with retailers around the world on their private brand portfolios including: Family Dollar, Petco, Staples, Office Depot, Best Buy, Metro (Canada), TLW (Taiwan) and Hola (Taiwan). Durham has published five definitive books on private brands, including his first book, Fifty2: The My Private Brand Project. In 2017, he will debut his newest book, Vanguard: Vintage Originals, a visual tour of innovation and disruption in private brand going back to the mid-1800’s. Dynamic in his presentation while down to earth and frank in his opinions, he has presented at numerous conferences, including FUSE, The Dieline Conference, Packaging that Sells, Omnishopper and PLMA’a annual trade show in Chicago. Durham lives in Charlotte, NC with his wife, Laraine, and two daughters, Olivia and Sarah.