Morrisons will become first UK supermarket to ban sale of plastic ‘bags for life’ in stores

  • Supermarket to save 3,200 tonnes of plastic a year with removal of ‘bags for life’
  • Bradford-based grocer said customers able to purchase reusable paper bags
  • The move comes after a trial using just paper bags in eight of its supermarkets

Morrisons has said it will become the first UK supermarket to completely remove plastic carrier bags from its stores.

The Bradford-based grocer plans to scrap its ‘bags for life’ with customers instead being able to purchase reusable paper bags.

The move, which comes after a trial using just paper bags in eight of its supermarkets, will see Morrisons save 3,200 tonnes of plastic every year.

It comes almost three years after single-use plastic bags were removed from its 497 UK shops.

Morrisons has said it will become the first UK supermarket to completely remove plastic carrier bags from its stores

The removal of the plastic ‘bags for life’ will be phased and will begin in Scotland this month, followed by England and Wales over the course of the next year, Morrisons has said.

It added that the policy will see the removal almost 100 million plastic bags in total.

Paper bags, with handles, will be used instead – costing 30p and able to carry up to 35lb of shopping.  

They will be available alongside other reusable options including jute, cotton and reusable woven bags, priced at £2.50, £1.50 and 75p respectively. 

Alternatively, customers will be able to bring their own carrier bags from home. 

The Bradford-based grocer plans to scrap its ‘bags for life’ with customers instead being able to purchase reusable paper bags

David Potts, chief executive of Morrisons, said: ‘We have been listening hard to our customers over the past year and we know that they are passionate about doing their bit to keep plastics out of the environment.

‘Removing all of the plastic bags from our supermarkets is a significant milestone in our sustainability programme.’

Supermarkets began charging for plastic bags in England 2015 after the government introduced a charge of 5p for single-use carriers in a bid to cut down on their use – with Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland running their own initiatives.

In the last year alone, Asda, Marks and Spencer, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, The Co-operative Group, Tesco and Waitrose sold more than 226 million bags.

But this was 322 million (59 per cent) fewer than in 2018-2019, according to the environment department Defra.

This means the average person in England now buys just four bags a year from the main supermarket retailers, compared with 10 last year and 140 in 2014 – causing the sale of single-use plastic carrier bags to plummet by 95 per cent.

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