Morrisons is set to become the first UK supermarket to do away with plastic bags entirely as it trials the roll out of “tough” paper alternatives.
Morrisons is aiming to phase out its sturdy plastic ‘bags for life’ over fears that customers are buying them and only using them once, leading to thousands of tonnes of plastic waste every year.
From today eight Morrisons stores will no longer sell any plastic bags, but will offer customers 20p paper alternatives.
The new paper bags are made from sustainably sourced wood pulp and are able to carry around 16kg of goods, or the equivalent of 13 bottles of wine, and are easily recyclable.
The trial will last for 12 weeks and Morrisons says it will “listen to customers” before making any permanent shifts to paper bags.
Should the retailer expand its paper bag roll out to all 494 stores, it would save around 90 million plastic bags every year, equating to around 3510 tonnes.
“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,” Morrisons’ chief executive David Potts said.
“We know that many are taking reusable bags back to store and, if they forget these, we have paper bags that are tough, convenient and a reusable alternative.”
Supermarkets have dramatically reduced their use of plastic bags since the introduction of a 5p charge back in 2015, reducing the number of single-use plastic bags by 95 per cent.
Due to the effectiveness of the scheme, most major supermarkets including Morrisons scrapped single use plastic bags altogether in 2018.
Research has suggested that ‘bags for life’ need to be used at least four times before they are better for the environment than single use bags.