Morrisons is planning to scrap all plastic bags from its checkouts, in a move that will make it the first UK supermarket to ditch plastic “bags for life”.
The supermarket has kicked off a trial at eight stores in Bristol, Cambridgeshire, Scotland, Wales and Yorkshire, with all bags for life replaced by paper carrier bags instead.
Morrisons decided to take the step to remove all plastic bags amid claims that customers were using the bags for life just once before they are sent to landfill.
Morrisons scrapped 5p plastic carrier bags in 2018 and replaced them with bags for life, but it said there was growing evidence that the reusable plastic bags for life were causing significant environmental damage.
If the move is supported by customers the measure will be rolled out across all Morrisons stores, which it said would cut plastic bag use by 90 million bags a year, the equivalent of 3,510 tonnes of plastic.
Morrisons says its paper bags with handles have a similar capacity to a standard plastic bag for life and are strong enough to carry heavy weights up to 16kg (the equivalent of 13 bottles of wine).
Labelled “Reusable Paper Bag”, the new bags are 100% PEFC accredited, meaning they are sourced from forests that are managed responsibly, and are manufactured at an eco-powered site in Wales. They are also suitable for home recycling services.
Morrisons will continue to offer other eco-friendly packaging solutions for shoppers including jute, cotton and reusable woven bag options in its stores.
Morrisons CEO David Potts said: “We believe customers are ready to stop using plastic carrier bags as they want to reduce the amount of plastic they have in their lives and keep it out of the environment.
“We know that many are taking reusable bags back to store and if they forget these, we have paper bags that are a tough, convenient and reusable alternative.”
Last month Defra revealed plastic carrier bag sales had dropped by more than 95% in England’s main supermarkets since the 5p charge was introduced in 2015.
Rosa Medea is Life & Soul Magazine’s Chief. She writes about lifestyle including sustainable and green living.