Waste & Circular Economy
Find out about our approach to waste and the circular economy
Over 200 million tonnes of waste is discarded in the UK each year according to latest Government figures. Of this, half is generated by construction activities, around a quarter is generated by other business activities, and around 30 million tonnes comes from households.
At M&S, we want to lead our sector in sustainable production and consumption, offering our customers the good value, high quality products and services that they expect from us while respecting our planetary boundaries and need for social equity.
We are committed to sending zero waste to landfill from our operations and construction activities in the UK and Republic of Ireland. We also work across our value chain and take action on key areas of waste such as used clothing, food waste, packaging, and carrier bags.
In parallel to working across our operations to reduce the amount of waste we produce, we have also started our transition to a more circular model, keeping resources in use for as long as possible. This is done by improving the recyclability of our packaging and goods, increasing the use of recycled materials and the durability of our products. We support the transition to a sustainable circular economy and will prioritise business model innovation and work with our different partners to put circular ways of working into practice.
We believe such a change is critical: by efficiently managing our natural resources we can continue producing high quality goods and supporting the communities all along our supply chain as well as lowering our environmental impact and mitigate climate changes.
Commitments and targets
We are committed to sending zero waste to landfill from our operations and construction activities in the UK and Republic of Ireland. We also work across our value chain and take action on key areas of waste such as food waste, used clothing, packaging, and carrier bags. We support the transition to a sustainable circular economy and will prioritise business model innovation and put circular ways of working into practice.
We've worked hard to take action in waste across our entire value chain.
Our M&S operated stores, offices and warehouses in the UK and Republic of Ireland produce around 59,000 tonnes of waste all of which is valued and retained in the economy in some form. The majority is either transit packaging, such as cardboard and polythene, or unsold food which cannot be donated to charities. The small amount of damaged or impact clothing generated in our stores is donated to Oxfam or Newlife. We send no operational waste to landfill and have been working hard to reduce the waste we create. We’re also continually improving our approach to fitting out our stores by seeking ways to reuse and refurbish equipment.
We want to help our customers reuse or recycle every product or piece of packaging we sell but we cannot do it alone. For example, in partnership with Oxfam through Shwopping we’re promoting the reuse and recycling of unwanted clothing. We’re also working with our suppliers to reduce supply chain waste and have introduced industry leading programmes covering manufacturing and farming excellence in support of this.
We are playing our part in tackling the global food waste challenge, with an aim to reduce food waste by 50% by 2030 relative to a 2017/18 baseline in our M&S operated stores in the UK and to redistribute 100% of edible surplus food by 2025.
Our approach focuses on improving our resource efficiency and putting the circular economy into action: