Waitrose will be the first supermarket to sell rolls of Christmas gift wrap unpackaged this year, eliminating the use of single use plastic that can’t be recycled.

Waitrose will sell two designs of gift wrap without any outer plastic packaging, giving customers a plastic-free option for Christmas gifts.

Instead of using plastic shrink wrap to protect the paper, each roll of wrapping paper will use a little extra paper to prevent the wrap from being damaged and labels to stop it unravelling.

The market-leading gift wrap, which is produced in the UK,  is made from sustainable FSC (Forest Stewardship Council) certified paper and printed using water-based inks.

If successful, the retailer will look to roll the design out more widely next Christmas. All Waitrose Christmas wrap will be fully recyclable this year

Waitrose also announced last week that it is permanently removing the shrinkwrap from its entire range of multi buy canned food, saving 45 tonnes of plastic a year.

Brown and kraft paper returned to favour last year with sales of plain wrap at Waitrose soaring by 600% – reflecting the  trend for a more environmentally friendly Christmas.

Nikki Grainge, Packaging Development Manager, Waitrose & Partners, said:  “We know customers will be looking to make Christmas just as special this year, but removing unnecessary plastic means they can enjoy gifting without worrying about the environment and rubbish that can’t be recycled after the festivities.

We’re constantly working to reduce single-use plastic and we’re on a roll with the removal of shrink wrap on gift wrap and many other products including tinned food and tissues. We’re constantly moving closer to phasing out non-recyclable plastic by the end of 2021.”

John Lewis & Partners is also launching a new plastic-free option in October, when sets of three reusable fabric gift bags go on sale. The prints of the bags have been designed by leading fashion designers, including Preen by Thornton Bregazzi and Giles Deacon and a portion of the proceeds will be donated to the British Fashion Council Foundation Fashion Fund.

Waitrose is continuing to run its Unpacked test in a number of shops. The trial has included offering a larger number of loose fruit and vegetables, the removal of plastic wrap from flowers and indoor plants and a wide selection of refillable options from cereals, pasta and coffee to wine, beer and cleaning products. Waitrose is now looking at how this can be developed further in the business.

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