Morrisons ditches plastic for paper bags

Morrisons plans to replace plastic “bags for life” with reusable paper bags if a trial in eight stores is successful.

The supermarket said the move was in response to evidence showing that reusable plastic bags, although stronger and thicker than their single-use predecessors, are often used once before being binned.

Morrisons is planning to remove all plastic bags for life from checkouts in eight pilot stores and is offering large reusable paper bags in their place. The paper bags have a similar capacity to a standard plastic bag for life and are strong enough to carry weights of up to 16kg, the equivalent of 13 bottles of wine.

The bags, which can be reused and recycled at the kerbside, have been available as an option alongside plastic bags in all 494 Morrisons stores since the start of last year. The supermarket said they had proven popular with customers, with one in three switching from plastic to paper bags. It plans to listen to feedback from customers before making the decision to remove plastic bags across its entire store estate.

“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,” said Morrisons chief executive David Potts. “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.”

Morrisons said that in 2019 it removed and made recyclable 9,000 tonnes of plastic and is on track to hit its 50% plastic reduction target by 2025, against a 2017 baseline.

The move coincides with research from shopping app, Ubamarket, which found that 82% of UK shoppers believe the level of plastic packaging on food and drink products needs to be changed drastically.

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